Backyard BBQ ribs

Backyard BBQ ribs! A beautiful chunky cut of meat finished with a sticky, sweet backyard bbq glaze on one side and a spicy, smokey bark on the other. Utter bliss – and served in a spooktacular style for some Hallowe’en fun!

Hallowe’en is such a brilliant time of year; spooky outfits, carved pumpkins and ghostly decorations – it brings out the childish side in us all.

This year we were holding a party for a few friends and I wanted to serve some Halloweeny food. Pumpkin and chestnut soup always goes down a treat so that was in, and Lizzie had done some amazing baking (no idea how she managed it just two weeks after little Henry was born) as well as set up all the usual chocolates and sweets that little trick-or-treaters look for. But for the last few months I had been thinking about how we could make our food spooky. We were serving up a bright green and foaming witches brew and I had plans for some ‘poison’ toffee apples – unfortunately ran a little out of time – but I was determined to serve skeletal ribs and sausage intestines. It couldn’t have worked out any better!


I decided to go away from the 3-2-1 method here and just smoke, with a dry rub, straight through, glazing over with my backyard bbq sauce towards the end.


The results were amazing – thanks to JL Butchers* we had a chunky cut of meat, finished with a sweet glaze on one side and spicy, smokey bark on the other!

People often ask how long food takes to cook and seem shocked at the total cooking time. But ribs are amazingly easy, a little bit of food prep and then the occasional check every couple of hours and before you know it,  your food is cooked – in some ways much less complicated and less hassle than a quick dish with everything happening at once!

*I would definitely recommend having a look at JL Butchers, really good delivery service and very high quality cut of meat – best ribs I’ve ever bought.



3 racks pork spare ribs

BBQ ribs dry rub

Backyard BBQ sauce

for the spritz:

pineapple/apple juice

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey


First trim and remove the membrane from the ribs: you can ask your butcher to do this for you but it’s very straight forward.


Find the end of the longest rib, and with a sharp knife a little beyond this point, cut down through the meat. Now continue to cut in a straight line from this point past the rest of the ribs. Next trim down any scraggly or particularly small ribs, and any chunks of grizzle. Finally, to remove the membrane, make a score across the membrane and with kitchen towelling for grip, get your fingers underneath and pull it off. It may take a few attempts but make sure to remove as much as you can.


Lay your trimmed ribs down on the work surface and generously sprinkle over your dry rub, pressing in with your hands. Leave for 5 minutes before flipping the ribs over and repeating on the other side.


Wrap in foil and leave in the fridge for at least a couple of hours – I tend to do this first thing in the morning and leave in the fridge until I need to get the ribs on.

Light up your bbq, set up for indirect cooking, and bring to 110C.

Lay your ribs bone side down on the grill.


Smoke at 110C for 4 hours. In a spray can, add your juice and a good splash of the Tennessee Honey. Spritz occasionally.

While your ribs are cooking, throw together a backyard bbq sauce using any leftover dry rub as a base.


The ribs 2 hours in…


…3 hours in…


A lovely chunky rack courtesy of JL Butchers


…4 hours in… with a set of tongs, pick up the ribs from the side. When they are cooked they will curl up with only a little resistance. Glaze with your backyard bbq sauce.


Continue to test and brush with your sauce every 20 minutes until they are cooked – as I said, you are looking for a good bend with only a little resistance. Ribs are best with a little bite and not quite falling of the bone.

After the second glaze…


…and the final glaze…


Remove from the grill – total cooking time will be roughly 5 hours. Leave to rest for 15 mins – if you can hold on that long!


Serve as a whole rack or slice into individual ribs for some delicious sticky bites to share!



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