Kansas City Spare Ribs
August 5, 2014

Kansas City Spare Ribs

For Kansas City Spare Ribs the rib of choice is a trimmed spare rib or more commonly known as the St. Louis Cut. These ribs are noticeably fattier than loin ribs and everyone knows “fat is flavor!”

Also, Kansas City BBQ is more famous for sauce than any cut of meat. If you don’t have a sweet, tomato based sauce; then you don’t have Kansas City style Q.

For my Kansas City Style Wet Ribs I start with 2 racks of trimmed Kansas City Spare Ribs (St. Louis Cut).

Kansas City Spare Ribs

I remove the membrane on these which can be a little tricky. It’s easier if you start at the end of the slab and use a paper towel to grip the membrane. It will come right off in one piece this way.

The seasoning on Kansas City Spare Ribs is all about balance. The rub should be salty, sweet, and have a touch of heat; but not one flavor overpowering the other.

Kansas City Spare Ribs

Give the Kansas City Spare Ribs a good coat of rub on all sides and the edges. Place the ribs in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours to rest. This gives the rub time to work into the meat.

Allow the ribs to come to room temperature for ½ hour and place them on the smoker at 250 degrees.

Kansas City Spare Ribs

On my smoker the fuel source is primarily charcoal, but I also place a few hickory chunks on the hot coals for smoke. A little smoke goes a long ways with Kansas City Spare Ribs.

To keep the ribs moist during the cooking process I use a spray bottle with plain apple juice. After 1 ½ hours open the smoker and give the ribs a quick spray. Repeat this step every 45 minutes until the Kansas City Spare Ribs are tender.

Kansas City Spare Ribs

At the 4 hour mark it’s time to start checking for tenderness. Kansas City Spare Ribs are thick enough to use a quick read thermometer (Thermapen) but it’s best to go by feel.

First I like to lift up on one end of the rib and see if the slab will show any sign of starting to break. Then turn the ribs on edge and gently twist a couple of the bones. When it feels like the bones will almost spin the ribs are done.

Kansas City Spare Ribs

Now these ribs wouldn’t be Kansas City style Wet Ribs if it wasn’t for a finishing sauce, so the very last step is to glaze the ribs with a sweet, tomato based sauce. Brush a little sauce on the top side and let the sauce caramelize for another 20 min. Anytime you glaze you want to stay close to the pit because it can go from perfect to burnt in no time.

Kansas City Spare Ribs

Remove the ribs and let them rest for a few minutes before you cut them into serving portions. Additional sauce can and usually is served on top these ribs before they hit the table.


Malcom Reed

Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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Kansas City Spare Ribs

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  1. Kevin Boyd says:

    Hello Malcolm love what you’re doing good recipes here’s one for you to try some time see what you think fajitas ribs durco baby backs seasoned with fajitas mix cooked you comp style then when wraped put in smoked onion and red peppers I leave wrapped till fall of bone remove bones shred and serve great at tailgate hope all is well take it easy.

  2. mike finn says:

    thank you sir for making me a hero at the smoker!

  3. Mike Maher says:

    Just curious as to what you use for a glaze to get that nice shine to your ribs?

  4. Paul says:

    Love this recipe. Quick question. Do you turn over your ribs at all or just leave them meat side up?

  5. Richard Vanderlinden says:

    Hello Malcom, I’ve got a question. How do you think the Rib-O-Lator would do on a gas grill with the amazing smoker tube, when cooking Kansas Style Spare Ribs? Using the 2 zone cook. My family and I love all the spices and bar b q sauces I’ve gotten from your shop. Thank You in advance.

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I'm Malcom Reed and these are my methods and techniques for mouth-watering, slow-smoked BBQ. Recipes, videos, detailed procedures and BBQ tips.

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