Barbecued Spare Ribs


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Falling Cloudberries

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2004

  • About

These are those wonderful sweet ribs that you find at the steak houses in South Africa. They bring you just a great big rack of spare ribs and perhaps some garlic bread and you eat with your fingers. I love making this type of thing from time to time. These need a bit of marinating beforehand.


  • 85 g (3 oz) butter
  • 1 onion, minced in a processor or very finely chopped
  • 250 ml (1 cup) tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 80 ml ( cup) lemon juice
  • 80 ml ( cup) runny honey
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) baby-back pork ribs, halved horizontally if large


Heat the butter in a wide non-stick saucepan and sauté the onion over gentle heat until softened but not browned. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the ribs) and 250 ml (1 cup) of water to the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Put the ribs and the sauce in a large ovenproof dish so that they fit quite compactly and leave them in the fridge for at least a few hours.

The ribs are best cooked over a barbecue. Either heat a gas barbecue to medium-high or heat your coals. If using coals, let them begin to die down, making sure there are no flames as you don’t want to burn the meat. Scrape off any excess marinade and barbecue the ribs until they are deep golden on both sides and charred in some places. Check that the pork is cooked all the way through to the bone. If there are any really thick ribs, cut them up individually and put them back over the coals.

Remove the ribs from the grill and put them back into the marinade in the dish. Add 125 ml (½ cup) of water to the marinade. Put the dish on the barbecue and cook until the sauce boils and becomes sticky, thick and dark (the sauce must come to the boil and boil for a few minutes). Turn the ribs over a few times while you are reducing the sauce. Serve immediately, either cut up individually or in their racks.