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

St. Louis cut 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 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.

Once the mustard is slathered on both sides, apply 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 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.

After 3 hours of smoke it’s time to wrap the 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 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 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.

For the glaze I used 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 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!

About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at HowtoBBQright.com, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

19 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. frank rice June 29, 2013 at 10:53 am -

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

  2. Administrator July 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm -

    Thanks for checking it out!

  3. Vince March 18, 2014 at 12:22 pm -

    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!

  4. Vince March 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm -

    Do you bbq beef ribs at all, I hope to see that on here in the future. Happy happy

  5. Administrator April 1, 2014 at 10:01 am -

    I’ve got a recipe for beef ribs here: http://howtobbqright.com/bbqbeefribs.html

    But I need to do an updated one soon

  6. Aaron Flores April 3, 2014 at 6:45 pm -

    What is the recipe for the All purpose seasoning you apply first to the ribs?

  7. K.l.Wall May 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm -

    The rib video is awesome , I will try your method !

  8. Farel September 16, 2014 at 9:16 am -

    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.

  9. Todd Nelson October 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm -

    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!

  10. Administrator October 20, 2014 at 7:46 am -

    glad to hear it. Thanks for checking out the website!

  11. Ed January 2, 2015 at 12:22 am -

    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!

  12. Larry Dietrich January 3, 2015 at 8:29 am -

    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 !!

  13. Administrator January 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm -

    We’ve got our class in Jan. And we have our hog class in Feb. Plus we have Lotta Bull’s class we are hosting in Feb too.

    You can check them all out here: http://barbecuelive.com/

  14. Administrator January 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm -

    Thanks for checking it out.

  15. Keith January 11, 2015 at 6:13 pm -

    Best ribs I’ve ever had.

  16. Steve February 1, 2015 at 10:21 am -

    Thanks for sharing your technique and recipe
    Smoking some SL Ribs today following your tips

  17. Shane March 15, 2016 at 8:44 pm -

    I just tried this on my new off set smoker and they were amazing. I’m new to using a offset smoker but I can see it can be addicting. I can’t wait to try out your Memphis style ribs next. thanks for the informal

  18. Bill May 2, 2016 at 4:26 am -

    I’ve smoked ribs exactly twice in my lifetime (this past weekend was one of them). Using your techniques and instructions, I’ve made some amazing ribs! And honestly, the way you explain everything, it’s almost too easy and fail-proof.

    PS. I’m using a gas grill with a smoker box filled with hickory wood chips and it still works perfectly! Thank you

  19. Tim July 3, 2016 at 6:53 pm -

    Thanks for sharing your secrets, your site is the only one I check for recipes when it comes to BBQ.

Leave A Response