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Herb-Rubbed Pork Spareribs with Honey-Lemon Glaze

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Serves 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 118

Many cooks boil or bake spareribs before grilling to render their tough meat tender, but that method leaves a lot of flavor behind in the pot or the baking pan. This recipe has you grill them in foil so they cook quickly in their own juice, and all the flavor is trapped inside the foil. Finishing the ribs with a simple glaze gives them extra flavor and crisp edges. This recipe can be made with standard spareribs or with St. Louis-cut spareribs—the former may take slightly more time to cook.

For the rub
  • 1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. rubbed (dried) sage
  • 2 tsp. fennel seed, coarsely crushed (preferably in a mortar)
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1-1/2 tsp. granulated onion
For the glaze
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
For the ribs
  • 6-1/2 lb. pork spareribs, membrane removed, cut between the ribs into 4 or 5 smaller slabs
  • Kosher salt
Make the rub and glaze

Whisk the rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Whisk the glaze ingredients together in another small bowl. Set both aside.

Season the ribs

Sprinkle the spice rub evenly on both sides of the ribs. Put a rib slab on one half of a large double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil, fold the other half of the foil over the ribs, and fold the edges tightly closed on all three sides to prevent leakage. Repeat with the remaining ribs. Put the foil-wrapped ribs on a large rimmed baking sheet and let stand while the grill heats.

Prepare the grill

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill fire for direct grilling over medium (350°F) heat.

Grill the ribs

Arrange the foil-wrapped ribs on the grill grate in a single layer and cover the grill. Have a spray bottle of water ready for any flare-ups, and grill for 45 minutes. Carefully turn the packets over, taking care not to pierce them, or the juices will run out. (If using a charcoal grill, add about 1 quart charcoal to the coals, if necessary, to maintain the temperature.) Cover and cook until the meat has pulled away from the ends of the rib bones and is very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife (carefully open the foil to check), about 45 minutes more.

Open the foil and transfer the ribs to a platter. Add any juice to the glaze.

Finish the ribs

For a charcoal grill, if necessary, add more charcoal to the coals to maintain a temperature of 350°F.

Clean and oil the grill grate. Arrange the ribs on the grill grate and brush with half of the glaze. Cover and cook until sizzling, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and brush with more glaze. Cover and cook until sizzling, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip again and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for about 5 minutes, and then cut between the bones into individual ribs. Transfer to a platter, season lightly with salt, and serve with any remaining glaze for dipping.

Make Ahead Tips

You can grill the ribs in foilup to 1-1/2 hours ahead. Keep them covered loosely with foil at cool room temperature. Brush with glaze and finish them on the grill just before serving.

Serving Suggestions

Pair these ribs with our Corn, Bacon and Red Pepper Saute for a complete summertime meal.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 510; Fat (g): fat g 29; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 58; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 26; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1060; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 145; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I loved these. Slow cooked them on the BBQ and then did the glaze. Not a sticky mess, but nice crisp bits plus lovely flavour from the rub and lemon honey. These are a little drier because of the honey glaze vs a sloppy sauce. But mine were fine cooked about 340 in BBQ for time directed. I had to watch the temp didn't get higher.

TOTAL DISASTER After 90 minutes the ribs were completely burned and inedible!

The rub was very tasty. It was a nice change from southern-style BBQ and mesquite seasoning. We used the glaze as a dip as the ribs were overcooked and crispy after the recommended cooking time and at the recommended 350 degree temperature. Next time, I will cook the ribs in the foil for a total of 1hr 15 min and then apply the glaze.

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