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Glazed Spice-Rubbed Spareribs

photo: Scott Phillips

Servings: 6 to 8

Every summer, my dad makes the most delicious barbecued ribs. His trick is to add some smoked paprika to the cumin and fennel in the spice rub to guarantee smoky results even when it’s too rainy to grill. These initially get cooked in the oven and then finished on the grill; if the weather isn’t cooperating, you can finish them under the broiler.


For the ribs

  • 2 Tbs. fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 Tbs. smoked paprika, preferably hot
  • 6-1/2 to 7 lb. pork spareribs (about 2 racks)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)

For the glaze

  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-1/2 packed Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • Kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on 8 servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 630
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 390
  • Fat (g): 43
  • Saturated Fat (g): 16
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18
  • Cholesterol (mg): 170
  • Sodium (mg): 580
  • Carbohydrates (g): 12
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Sugar (g): 8
  • Protein (g): 48


Cook the pork

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 300°F.
  • Crush the fennel, cumin, and peppercorns to a medium grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Stir in the paprika. Set aside 1 tsp. of the spice mix.
  • Season the ribs well all over with kosher salt, then rub the spice mix all over. Transfer to a large roasting pan, meaty side up. Pour in the apple juice, cover tightly with foil, and cook until very tender, about 2 hours; the ribs should sag if you hold the center up with a pair of tongs. Uncover, and let cool to room temperature in the pan. (If not serving right away, wrap in foil. Refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze up to 1 month.)

Make the glaze

  • Combine the apple juice, tomato paste, Worcestershire, sugar, mustard, oregano, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.(The glaze may be made up to 3 days ahead;let cool, cover, and refrigerate.)

Finish the ribs on the grill

  • Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Brush the ribs with a thin coating of the glaze. Grill, flipping every 5 minutes or so and basting with more glaze until the glaze browns, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before cutting the ribs apart. Sprinkle the reserved 1 tsp. of spices over the ribs and finish with a little kosher or flaky sea salt.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • Liz73 | 08/06/2017

    Better the next day.

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