How to Cook Pork Spare Ribs – A Step by Step Guide

If you’re a fan of succulent meat, then you must know that nothing beats a well-seasoned pork spare rib. Whether you’re planning to host a backyard barbecue or want to cook something special for your family, pork spare ribs are a delicious choice. While preparing a perfect pork spare rib might sound like a daunting task, it is not as hard as it seems. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to cook pork spare ribs to perfection.

Choosing the right ribs

The first step to cooking succulent pork spare ribs is to choose the right cut of meat. Usually, there are three types of pork ribs available in the market – baby back ribs, St. Louis style ribs, and spare ribs. While baby back ribs are smaller and leaner, spare ribs are larger and have more fat. St. Louis style ribs are somewhere in the middle. You can choose any of these depending on your preference. For this recipe, we’ll be using spare ribs.

Preparing the ribs

Before seasoning the ribs, it is essential to remove the thin membrane on the back of the ribs. This membrane can be quite tough and will make it difficult for the flavors to penetrate the meat. To remove the membrane, slide a sharp knife under the skin and gently peel it off. If you’re finding it hard to separate the skin, use a paper towel for a better grip.


Once the ribs are ready, it is time to season them. You can use any seasoning that you like, depending on your preference. However, we recommend using a mix of brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and generously rub the spice mix over the ribs, making sure to cover both sides. The key is to use enough seasoning to ensure the flavor is infused into the meat.

Smoking or Grilling

Now that the ribs are seasoned, it’s time to cook them. There are two popular ways to cook pork spare ribs – smoking and grilling. For smoking, you’ll need a smoker set at 225-250°F. Place the ribs on the grates and smoke them for around 3-4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. You can also use wood chips to add more flavor.

For grilling, preheat the grill to around 300°F. Place the ribs on the grates and grill for around 2-3 hours. Keep turning the ribs every 30 minutes and baste them with your favorite BBQ sauce in the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Resting and Serving

Once done, remove the ribs from the grill or smoker and let them rest for around 15 minutes before cutting them. This allows the juices to settle in the meat and makes it easier to handle. If you’re serving the spare ribs as a main dish, you can cut them into individual ribs and place them on a platter. Alternatively, you can cut them into smaller pieces and serve them as an appetizer.


Q. How do I know when the ribs are ready?

A. The best way to know if the ribs are ready is to check their internal temperature. For pork, the recommended temperature is 165°F. Alternatively, you can check if the ribs are tender and juicy.

Q. What is the best BBQ sauce for pork spare ribs?

A. This is subjective and depends on personal preference. However, some popular options include Sweet Baby Ray’s, Stubbs, and Kraft.

Q. Can I cook pork spare ribs in the oven?

A. Yes, you can cook pork spare ribs in the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F and place the ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for around 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Q. Can I freeze cooked pork spare ribs?

A. Yes, you can freeze cooked pork spare ribs. However, make sure to wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.