Kansas City Style Pork Ribs

2 out of 3 isn't bad. Friday night I got around to making the ribs I had been eyeing all week. Actually Thursday night I gave them a dry rub and stuck them in the fridge and Friday we cooked them. First off, I can't put enough emphasis on how much the dry rub helps, or how much I think it does. By Friday evening the 13 x 9 dish they were resting in had filled to the top with the excess water that had been pulled out of the meat by the salt in the rub. I'd definitely recommend preparing these ribs at least 6-8 hours in advance, or overnight.

Since the ribs were on sale ($0.88/lb) we got about 7.3 lbs for $6.99.

After making this recipe, I can safely say that the Neelys can be trusted:

2 slabs pork spare ribs, 3 pounds each
Kansas City Barbeque Sauce, recipe follows

Dry Rub:
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Remove the thin white membrane off of the bone-side of the ribs. Mix together the brown sugar, dry mustard, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Massage the rub into the ribs and let sit for 1 hour or up to overnight.

If cooking on the grill, place the ribs meat-side down next to medium-hot coals that are about 225 degrees F. The indirect heat will cook them slower, making them tender. Allow to cook for 1 hour. Turn ribs every half hour and baste with the Kansas City Barbeque Sauce. Cook until the ribs are tender, about 3 to 4 hours.

If cooking indoors, place in a roasting pan with a rack. Slather the ribs with the Kansas City Barbeque Sauce and tent a piece of aluminum foil over them. In a preheated 350 degrees F. oven, place the ribs, basting with the sauce every 30 minutes and removing the foil for the last 30 minutes and cooking until fork tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Kansas City Barbeque Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (about 2/3 cup)small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup (2 (6-ounce) cans) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small sauce pot on medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the onion, cooking until translucent.

Add the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Add to sauce pan and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Use to baste the pork spare ribs.

Yield: 3 cups

The sauce was phenomenal. A little spicy at first, but once it sat in the fridge overnight the cayenne pepper disippated. However, if I made it again I'd cut the cayenne in half. Same with the dry rub. A whole tablespoon can be a bit strong, I'd reduce it to 2 teaspoons. Also, unlike other sauces I've tried to make from Food Network recipes, this sauce reduced as it was supposed to and made a reasonable quantity relative to the amount you use. I'd recommend making the sauce the night before too. When it cools and thickens I think it will provide a stickier glaze on the ribs.

The one major change I did make was that we used shoulder blade Western style ribs rather than a rack or half rack of spare ribs like you would normally picture when someone says ribs. Western or Country Style ribs are a bit more lean with a great deal more meat per rib. Some pieces are boneless, while others are essentially T-bone rib steaks. Depending on how your ribs look, you may or may not want to trim the fat before you start cooking. Mine were pretty lean, so I left the remaining fat intact for moisture, and cut if off while I was eating.

We cooked these ribs in the oven at 375 for about 2 hours on a baking rack on top of a parchment lined half baking sheet and covered with aluminum foil. After 2 hours the ribs were about 145 degrees, so I pulled them off and finished them with direct heat on the grill at 450 for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature hit 160. Then I let the ribs rest 5-10 minutes and let the carryover take the internal temperature to about 170.

Like I said before, these are more knife and fork rib steaks than finger foods. They were awesome enough that we had the leftovers for dinner on Saturday night. 


Dolphkhan said...

Sounds and looks delicious.. I'm going to give this a try, though I'll probably sub out chipotle for the cayenne (flavor:heat preference for me). Thanks for posting your results and opinions in such helpful detail.
I'm interested in how this rub/sauce might turn out with beef ribs (again, a flavor/texture preference).