Recipe for Barbecue Dry Rub – Apple Bourbon Grilled Pork Spare Ribs

We grill our ribs for a total of 2 1/2 to 3 hours because we like to grill them slowly in indirect heat. However, we also do marinate them with rubs, wet pastes or liquid marinades for a minimum of 4 hours. So, all in all, grilling ribs for us is an all day experience. Well worth the time too!

Last week my husband got a spicy rub from his friend Julie McGeever and let me tell you, it is wonderful. We decided to use it on pork spare ribs on the grill. I also made a basting sauce based on apple cider and bourbon which we used on the ribs every 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, we ‘rigged’ our barbecue sauce with apple jelly, apple cider and bourbon. The result was outstanding.

First, the recipe for Julie’s spicy rub which she rightfully calls ‘Roger’s Devil Rub’ – I do not know who Roger is. You will have plenty of rub left over and you can use it on salmon, pork chops, pork loin, tri-tip, steaks and chicken. Make it and keep it in an air tight container in a dry, cool place. By the way, what a great frugal gift form your kitchen! Believe me, your friends will love it!

1 cup Susie Q Santa Maria Seasoning (available in bulk at Costco)
1/2 cup Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup ancho, chipotle or pasilla chile powder
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar (moscovado sugar for more intense flavor if you prefer)
1/4 cup powdered garlic (not minced)
1/4 cup dried parsley

Mix together all ingredients with a whisk in a large bowl. When using the rub on meat rub it with a high quality olive oil before applying rub liberally. When using fish or chicken first cover with the juice of limes or lemons. Make sure you let the rub do it’s thing for at least 2 hours (preferably 4) before barbecue. THANK YOU JULIE!
This is truly outstanding rub!

OK, so now to the ribs. Go ahead and rinse and pat dry the slabs. Using a paring knife, remove the papery membrane from the back of your ribs. Also, trim off all the excess fat. Rub the ribs with olive oil and liberally apply the rub. Place them in a large enough container to be flat, cover them, refrigerate them for 4 hours. Remove the ribs from the fridge 20 minutes before you cook them so they can reach room temperature.

Dry Rubbed Pork Spare Ribs

Light 1/2 of your gas grill on high or, if using a charcoal grill, pile up the hot coals on one side of the grill with a metal object.

While the grill is heating, make your basting sauce. This is enough for 2 large slabs of pork. In a large bowl, whisk together:
2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar

Set it aside.

Place your pork slabs directly on to the fire and sear them on both sides. Move them to the unlit part of your grill. Cover the grill and let them cook, slowly for 2 hours. Make sure to baste them (use a long brush or a spray bottle) with your basting sauce every 15 to 20 minutes. Discard any remaining basting sauce.

Basting Ribs on Grill

While the ribs are cooking get your barbecue sauce ready. Here is what you will need:
8 oz. apple jelly
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons bourbon

Melt the apple jelly on medium heat, stirring constantly. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth sauce.

Two hours into your rib cooking, pick up your rib slab with a pair of tongs. If when they fold in half the meat is pulling away from the bone, you are almost there! Brush them generously with your barbecue sauce and return them to the direct fire.

Cook them for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce caramelizes and remove them from the grill. Let the ribs sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Separate them with a knife and serve with lots of napkins and the extra barbecue sauce on the side. Enjoy!

Print the Apple Bourbon Spare Ribs Recipe Here

My name is Mary Ann Allen and I am here to help you get organized so you can save money on groceries and feed your family healthy, nutritious food. My multi-cultural cooking background comes from being born in the US and raised in Bolivia. I have 5 kids and own around 400 cook books. I absolutely love to cook!

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