These Grilled Pork Spare Ribs start out in a sweet and savory brine, then are roasted to make them tender and juicy, before getting a final sear on the grill with a spicy sauce! It’s the recipe you need when tending a fire isn’t in the cards!
Roasted, Grilled Pork Spare Ribs with Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce
We’re a two-grill family…one gas, one charcoal. My husband occasionally spends an entire day tending the charcoal kettle grill to make brisket or ribs, making sure the temp stays just right. The result is wonderful, but the attention it requires is not.
Here’s the good news…you can still make some tasty ribs with a lot less effort!
Ingredients for These Pork Spare Ribs
- Pork spare ribs — (well, yea.) These are the meatier, fattier (er, more flavorful) and less expensive member of the pork rib family. You can also try this recipe with baby back ribs, though I’d probably decrease the oven time.
- Dried New Mexico Chiles — or your favorite dried chili variety. These will get toasted to release their fragrance and oils, then become part of the brine.
- Liquid smoke — if you love the smokiness that comes with wood fired BBQ, adding liquid smoke will give these ribs an essence of smoke.
- Seasonings — you can’t have brine with at least some kosher salt. We’re also using brown sugar, whole peppercorns, and a whole head of garlic.
- Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce — this is my homemade sauce. I won’t be totally offended if you use another. 😉
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Steps for Making Roasted + Grilled Pork Spare Ribs
While you don’t need to check that kettle grill all day, you do need to plan ahead to brine the ribs overnight. Big difference, though…once you pop it in the fridge, it’s hands-off!
- Make the brine — start with a large dry pot on medium heat. Add the chiles in a single layer and toast for 2 minutes on each side. Add the water, liquid smoke, salt, sugar, peppercorns and halved head of garlic to the pot. Stir the ingredients until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Take the pot off the burner and toss in a couple handfuls of ice. Let it cool completely.
- Place the ribs in a vessel large enough to cover with the brine. If there’s not enough brine, add enough cold water to submerge the ribs completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but overnight is better.
- Remove the ribs from the brine and pat dry (discard the brine). Place them on a rack in a shallow pan and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 2-1/2 hours at 325°F.
- To finish, preheat a grill and cook the ribs over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Brush BBQ sauce on both sides and grill an additional couple of minutes to caramelize the sauce. Cut the ribs into individual portions for serving with more BBQ sauce on the side. (See the recipe card for broiler instructions.)
BRINING NOTE: If it helps, cut the racks in half to brine. My fridge doesn’t have room for a vessel long enough to fit a full rack of ribs. I cut them in half to fit into a smaller fridge-friendly vessel (actually, they fit into the same pot I made the brine in!).
Serve Up Some Sides!
While this isn’t a fast process, it’s mostly hands off and that frees you up to make all your yummy side dishes! Here are a few to check out…
- Make Your Own Flavor Kettle Chips
- Air Fryer German Style Potato Salad with Jammy Eggs
- Charred Corn Salad with Black Beans + Poblano
- Overnight Honey Wheat Angel Biscuits
- Mango Lime Popsicles with Kiwi (perfect after some spicy bbq!)
Roasted + Grilled Pork Spare Ribs
- 2 oz dried New Mexico Chiles stems + seeds removed (or your favorite dried chiles)
- 2 qts water
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 1 head garlic cut in half across its equator (no need to remove the paper)
- 4 lbs pork spare ribs you can split large racks in two for easier handling / brining
- Chipotle Honey BBQ Sauce (recipe link) (or your favorite store-bought) for glazing + serving
- Heat a large, dry pot over medium heat. Add chiles in a single layer and toast for two minutes on each side. Add the water, liquid smoke, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns and garlic. Stir and cook until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the burner and add a couple handfuls of ice to cool.
- Place the ribs in a large vessel that can hold the ribs and brine. Pour the brine over the ribs, then add enough cold water to submerge completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- Remove the ribs from the brine and pat dry. Discard the brine. Arrange the ribs on a rack in a shallow baking dish. Cover with foil and roast for 2.5 hours.*
- To finish, grill over medium-high for 5 minutes. Brush with bbq sauce and cook another minute or two. Remove to a cutting board and cut between the ribs for individual servings.
- Serve with additional warmed bbq sauce on side.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.