St. Louis Spare ribs

St. Louis Spare Ribs Recipe for Memorial Day

St. Louis Spare Ribs Recipe

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.
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.
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.
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 Connect on Facebook Follow me on Twitter Subscribe to my YouTube Channel Find me on Google+ Follow me on Instagram Buy Killer Hogs Products Here St. Louis Spare ribs

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53 responses to “St. Louis Spare Ribs Recipe for Memorial Day”

  1. frank rice says:

    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. Vince says:

    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!

  3. Vince says:

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

  4. Aaron Flores says:

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

  5. K.l.Wall says:

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

  6. Farel says:

    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.

  7. Todd Nelson says:

    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!

  8. Ed says:

    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!

  9. Larry Dietrich says:

    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 !!

  10. Keith says:

    Best ribs I’ve ever had.

  11. Steve says:

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

  12. Washington says:

    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 😉

  13. Nick Maranto says:

    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.


    • Malcom Reed says:

      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

  14. John Bonham says:

    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!

  15. Chad says:

    This recipe changed my life.

  16. Steve Atkins says:

    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.

  17. Dylan Martin says:

    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.


  18. Paul says:

    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!

  19. Jo says:

    I’m in Australia and made these today. I had to substitute the rub for a different brand cos I can’t get yours over here. I also used butter when I wrapped them and a different bbq sauce mixed with some apple juice for the glaze. So delicious! Great technique, really easy to follow. Will definitely make again!

  20. Mississippibelle says:

    New to smoking. This will be the third time I’ve even used fired it since getting gifted one for Christmas. Trying your St. Louis ribs today…what can I use for a substitute for apple ? juice in the base when cooking and in the bbq sauce at the end for the glaze?? Not wanting to make a special trip into town just for apple juice. Thank you for any reply.

  21. RevJoey says:

    Your videos have been a game changer for a beginner like myself. Would this recipe work the same for loin back ribs?

  22. Bruce Jubert says:

    Mr. Reed, I’m a big fan of your videos and recipes. I’m doing this recipe again along with the turkey breast (can’t leave out the AP Rub and BBQ Rub, of course) tomorrow!

    P.S.: Pretty cool you know the Heim’s. I live in the DFW area and have been to their restaurant a few times – those bacon burnt ends are MI-TEE FINE!

  23. Greg says:

    New to smoking but having a cook out. Was going to do these St. Louis ribs and a bone in turkey/chicken breast. I know they use two different temps from your videos, so I was going to cook the ribs first then kick up the heat and do the turkey breast. Question I had was should I cook the ribs then let them sit for a couple hours while the breast cooked, then go back to the smoker to put the glaze on. Or just finish the ribs with the glaze and all then do the turkey, if so how should I reheat the ribs?

  24. Linda Waldron says:

    Just a newbie and still trying to learn what to do! But your site is pretty awesome! Thanks for all the insights to a better way to meat cooking.

  25. Brian Glass says:

    First time ever smoking on a masterbuilt pro series propane smoker. Followed your instructions and did a whole chicken and a small Boston butt. It was OMG SO GOOD for my family of 20 everyone was amazed of the flavors and tenderness. Really appreciate all your videos. Alabama boy happy happy. Have a great and blessed day

  26. Josh Walter says:

    I’m making these ribs today!! I can’t wait to try them! I love all your content! Just bought my first smoker two weeks ago and haven’t stopped using it. Next I’m gonna make your Carolina style pulled pork! Can’t wait. Thanks for making it so easy for us beginners! Keep up the good work!

  27. KEVIN CRODDY says:

    I’ve tried this recipe and cooked pork ribs for a total of 7 hours and they looked raw really pink inside . I couldn’t eat them by the way they looked. What did I do wrong? I have a pit boss pellet upright smoker electric..

    • Malcom Reed says:

      Smoked meat is pink. It’s fully cooked – but the smoke ring is pink. If you cooked it for 7 hours at 250 they were more than done… that or something is wrong with your cooker.

  28. Jeff says:

    New to the world of pellet of smoking, been watching your videos, and made these ribs tonight. Just want to say thank you, best ribs I’ve ever had. My question is the baste mix, how long do you keep it and do you refrigerate it or store it on pantry shelf? I hate thinking of dumping remaining liquid.

  29. Sarah Ladd says:

    Malcolm, I love your site and I’m new to smoking so you’ve been a great inspiration to me! Thank you for all your hard work. I cannot get Parkay where I am, would putting pats of butter in be an acceptable subsitute or what would you recommend? I can get tub margarine, but I’m wondering, is there something special about Parkay besides that it comes in something you can squeeze like mustard? I appreciate you!

  30. Simon says:

    Malcom Reed,
    This is way too labor-intensive for me. I like to open the lid twice, once in and once out.
    However, I will check out your Killer Rub.

  31. Thomas Trinity says:

    Is the cook time for baby backs the same as STL ribs?

  32. James says:

    Hey from Scotland malcolm.
    Got my new smoker and attempting your St Louis ribs and mac and cheese and bbq beans on Saturday. Any idea how long your mac and cheese and beans recipe should go in for if I cook them at 235 at the same time with the ribs?

  33. Wesley says:


    Just wanted to say ever since I discovered you on You Tube I have learned so much about BBQ. I have tried several of your recipes and all of them have been amazing! I just got a shipment in today of your seasonings and sauces and I cant wait to put them to use! Thanks for all the content and information you provide.

  34. John Watson says:

    Love this recipe and did them “night before.” What’s the best way to warm them the next day?

  35. dr todd funk says:

    you website ,podcasts and vids have changed my life forever. I just cant use my bbq equipment enough now…..have you ever considered doing in person education?

    thank you very much !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dr Todd Funk

  36. dr todd funk says:

    YOUR website, podcasts, and vids have changed my life forever. I just cant use my bbq equipment enough now…..have you ever considered doing in person education?

    thank you very much !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dr Todd Funk

  37. Larry B Holder says:

    My go-to guy for all things bbq!! Love your videos and follow your instructions and turns out amazing everytime, just picked up some killer hogs rub and doing your recipe for st Louis ribs

  38. Peggy says:

    My husband was over the moon with these ribs! He said he couldn’t imagine that there could possibly be any more perfect ribs than this! Might be a good time to ask him for a puppy! If I get it, I’ll name him Malcom. ha ha

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