Stupid-Easy Recipe for Classic St. Louis-Style Backyard Ribs (#1 Top-Rated)


These smoky, sweet and tangy, lip-smacking spareribs are some of the best we’ve tried, and are guaranteed to turn you into your friends’ and family’s favorite pitmaster. While the basic recipe makes one slab of ribs (to serve three), the quick spice rub and barbecue sauce are enough to season two slabs (to serve six). Double the sauce if you like lots on the side. To make the recipe you’ll need St. Louis-style spareribs, which are ribs that have been trimmed down uniformly so they cook more evenly. You’ll also need a water spritzer and wood chunks or chips as recommended for your smoker or grill (either 4-6 pecan, cherry, apple, or hickory chunks or 1-2 cups wood chips). Finally, you’ll need either peach butcher’s paper, which is uncoated paper that’s used to wrap meats for smoking and protect them from heat without steaming, or aluminum foil. Follow your smoker or grill maker’s directions for building and maintaining an indirect heat (two-zone) fire.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Classic St. Louis-Style Backyard Ribs.

1. Info for Classic St. Louis-Style Backyard Ribs

  • Cook Time: 5 Hr 0 Min
  • Total Time: 5 Hr 0 Min
  • Servings: 3
  • Calories: 263.85 kcal

2. Ingredients for Classic St. Louis-Style Backyard Ribs

  • brown sugar
  • smoked paprika
  • kosher salt
  • ancho chile pepper
  • black pepper
  • granulated onion
  • granulated garlic
  • dry mustard
  • St. Louis cut spare ribs
  • yellow mustard
  • apple cider vinegar
  • water
  • ketchup
  • smoked paprika

3. Directions:

  1. To a medium bowl add ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder, 1 tablespoon black pepper (or use 1 ½ teaspoons for less heat), the granulated onion, 1 tablespoon granulated garlic, and the dry mustard. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  2. Prepare a smoker or grill for indirect (two-zone) low heat (250°F) as recommended by the manufacturer. For charcoal, arrange the coals on one side of the firegrate to create a hot and cool (indirect heat) zone. The ribs will go over the cool zone. For gas, preheat the grill with all the burners on, then turn off the center burner or one of the side burners. The area with no heat underneath it is indirect heat. If your smoker or grill uses wood chips, soak 1-2 cups pecan, cherry, apple, or hickory chips in water about 30 minutes while you build the fire, then drain. (If your cooker uses wood chunks, don’t soak them.)
  3. While the smoker or grill heats, remove the membrane from the bony side of the ribs. Use either a butter knife or your finger to get under the membrane, then grab it with a paper towel, pull, and discard.
  4. Coat ribs on both sides with yellow mustard. Season ribs with dry rub from 10-12 inches above the ribs for an even coat, patting rub into ribs. Set ribs aside to allow rub to adhere and sweat a bit (the rub will appear wet) until your pit is up to temp. Store any leftover rub in a jar at room temperature up to 3 months.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup vinegar and the water in a spray bottle.
  6. Once the smoker or grill is at 250°F, add 4-6 wood chunks or the drained wood chips to the fire or to the smoker box. When you see smoke coming from the fire, place ribs bony side down on the grate, gently scrunching ribs up a bit. (This helps them plump up when you cook them, for a meatier bite.) Cover smoker or grill and cook ribs, spritzing with vinegar water every 30-40 minutes to keep them moist, until ribs are a mahogany color, 2-2 ¼ hours. If you’re cooking over charcoal, be sure to add fuel as needed to maintain the temp.
  7. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine ketchup and the remaining ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring often, until flavors are blended and sauce starts to thicken a bit, 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
  8. Transfer ribs to a sheet tray or platter and close the cooker to maintain the heat. Wrap meat in peach butcher paper or foil. Return ribs to smoker or grill and cook, adding more charcoal if needed to maintain 250°F, until the thickest part of the meat reaches 205°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 more hour. (You can measure the temperature right through the paper.) When ribs are ready, they should also have pulled back about 1/4 inch from the ends of the bones and will have a nice bend to them when you pick them up in the middle of the rack.
  9. Remove ribs from smoker or grill. Unwrap, set on a serving board, and brush on both sides with some of the sauce. Serve ribs; or if you like, add a little more rub to the top for extra flavor, then set them back on the pit for about 15-20 minutes to allow the sauce to set up.
  10. Slice ribs and serve with any additional sauce on the side.

Please rate this article