St. Louis Spare ribs

St. Louis Spare Ribs for Memorial Day

St. Louis Spare ribs

Had to cook something great for Memorial Day… so I fired up the grill and smoked some St. Louis Spare ribs. So here is my full recipe for St. Louis Spare ribs and a little video too:

St. Louis Spare ribs are simply spare ribs with the brisket bone removed. They come from the belly section of the hog, so they contain a little more fat than loin ribs… but everyone knows that fat = flavor. You can buy the entire slab of spare ribs and trim it into St. Louis cut ribs at home, but you can also find them pre-trimmed at most grocery stores. The ribs I cooked came from Kroger and were already cut.

Once out of the package there’s a little work that needs to be done. Flip the St. Louis Spare ribs over and trim off the flap of meat right against the bone, also remove the membrane. It can be a little tricky on spare ribs. What I do is use a butter knife to gently raise the membrane until I can get a finger under it. Then use a paper towel for grip and slowly pull the membrane off. Sometimes it will tear; just keep working at it until all of the it is removed. (Loin back ribs are much easier to skin) Also, if there’s any large deposits of fat underneath the membrane, I scrape it off.

Now the ribs are ready to season. The first thing I apply is a good coat of All Purpose seasoning. It’s basically a combination of salt, black pepper, and garlic with a few other herbs for a base flavor. Then squirt on a layer of Yellow Mustard for a binder. This will help the rub stick to the ribs as it cooks.

St. Louis Spare ribs

Once the mustard is slathered on both sides, apply Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub. to each side. Let the ribs rest for a few minutes while the smoker is coming up to temperature.

For these ribs I’m using my Yoder pellet grill running with BBQr’s Delight Cherry pellets. It’s a mild, sweet flavor that goes great with ribs. I set the temp to 235 degrees and in 20 minutes it’s ready to roll.

Place the ribs on the smoker and let them roll for 45 minutes. At this point it’s time to baste. I don’t want them to get too dry.

For the St. Louis Spare ribs baste I mixed:

  • 8 oz Apple Juice
  • 4 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 2 oz Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 oz Olive Oil
  • 2 oz Sweet Red Wine

Pour all of the ingredients into a squirt bottle and shake to combine. At each 45 minute mark, spritz the ribs with the baste mixture and apply a touch more of the dry rub. At this point you’re building layers of flavor on the ribs.

St. Louis Spare ribs

After 3 hours of smoke it’s time to wrap the St. Louis Spare ribs. I don’t want them to get too dark or develop an over-smoked flavor. For wrapping the ribs you’ll need heavy duty aluminum foil. I’ve tried the cheap stuff and it just won’t cut it. Tear off a large strip of foil, lay the ribs meat down in the center, and drizzle with Parkay Margarine. Sprinkle brown sugar over the parkay and drizzle with honey. Flip the ribs over and do the same for the top side. Bring the foil up and over the ribs, then flip the rack over. Fold up the sides and it will create a tight seal.

Place the St. Louis Spare ribs back on the smoker and check them again in 1 hour. At this point they should be getting tender. Carefully open the foil and tug on the bones a little. If it feels as if the bone can be removed with a little more force, than the ribs are right where you want them. Sometimes it requires a little more time in the foil, so you just have to watch them close. If you do want to take an internal temperature, it should be around 190-195 degrees.

Now that the St. Louis Spare ribs are tender it’s time to set a final glaze. Carefully return the slabs back to the smoker. I’ve found that it’s easier to place the ribs on full size wire cooling racks. It makes for maneuvering them back and forth easier. You can find these racks at local restaurant supply stores or online.

St. Louis Spare ribs

For the glaze I used Killer Hog’s The BBQ Sauce mixed with a little apple juice. Spread it evenly on both sides of the ribs and let the glaze cook on for about 30 minutes. At this point you really need to watch it because the sugars in the glaze can turn dark and burn quick. I check the ribs about every 10 minutes just to make sure it’s not over caramelizing.

Once the glaze has set, it’s time to pull the St. Louis Spare ribs off. They’re ready to portion at this point. Cut them into one bone pieces if you’re going to serve them immediately, or you can wrap them in foil and place in a dry cooler if you need to hold them for a little while.

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day holiday!

Malcom Reed
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St. Louis Spare ribs

Comments 25

  1. man i ove your website…you rock thank you very much for all the great tips….god bless..hope you have a great summer

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  2. I used to boil my ribs before finishing them on the grill, now I know how to do them up right. Juicy and tender, just a fantastic way to do ribs. Jerk chicken tonight…can’t wait!

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  3. Generally always beweetn 225 275 is your cooking range Ribs 4 6 hoursBrisket 8 16 hours on smoker fat side up can finish in oven after 8 hours if neededFish under one hourMy favorite chicken wings 2 hours on the smoker and mix with homemade wing sauce and dipped in blue cheese.

  4. I’m a bit of a noob when it comes to smoking, having been at it for only a year, but your recipes and instructions are top notch. Your site is my go-to site for smoking recipes. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

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  5. I just made two racks of ribs using your recipe and techniques, and I have to say, “holy crap!” They were so good! I’ve had BBQ all over the west coast, but these were hands down the best ribs I’ve ever eaten. Malcolm, you are a smoking genius! Thank you!

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  6. Would love to attend your class, unfortunately prior obligations. Are you going to offer a class on a different date ?? Good luck on your year !!

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  7. Hey Malcom,
    Thanks for the work. I love your website. I followed your instructions step by step and ribs were a hit all summer. Now my family thinks I’m the bbq master 😉

  8. Quick question. When smoking ribs like you just demonstrated, how much wood would be appropriate for smoking? I understand you used pellets however, I’m going to invest in an electric masterbuilt for practice. I’m not quite sure how much or often to add chips. I believe the trey holds about a quarter cup at a time. Is it wise to add every hour? Any advice on smoke application is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Nick

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      I don’t know much about electric smokers – never used one. I would just make sure it has plenty of chips for the first part of the cook. Once you wrap you don’t need any smoke – just heat

  9. Yesterday, I made your Competition Baby Back Ribs, Memphis Style Dry Baby Back Ribs and St Louis Style Spare Ribs for Labor Day and they were spectacular! They were so good, my girlfriend thinks I should enter BBQ competitions now!!
    I couldn’t have done it without your awesome how-to videos and website. Thanks!

  10. Malcom, I love your recipes. You’ve opened up a whole new world of BBQ for us. Thanks. Have you ever cooked with a rib rack? I have a large green egg (I love it) and tried coooking 3 racks of baby back ribs and ended up burning the bottoms of a couple of the racks as they were positioned over the side “vent” holes of the plate setter. I wonder if using a rack, cooking with the racks on their sides for the smoking part would have helped. Maybe three racks are too much to cook at one time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Also love you Killer Hog Rub. Thanks again.

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  11. I’m a big fan of your website and all of your recipes Malcom. I have tried several different methods for ribs and this recipe has been my favorite so far. I have made it several times. I have made my own rubs plus used several rubs from other bbq circuit champions and your bbq rub is also my favorite. You have a lifetime supporter here. Keep doing what you’re doing and us fans will get to benefit from your delicious recipes. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate it.

    Dylan

  12. I made these St. Lousi Style ribs yesterday for Memorial Day. I’m on a mission to smoke everything in the recipes section…I don’t have even half that skill as Malcom, but the videos are easy to understand, and the recipes are perfect. I’ve only been smoking for 2 seasons now, my friends and family absolutely love it, and that’s what it’s all about!

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