Root Beer Barbecued Spareribs




2 Tbsp Unsalted butter

1 Yellow onion(s), finely chopped

1 Tbsp Peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger

1 Garlic clove(s), finely chopped

1 12-oz bottle(s) root beer (not diet)

1 cup Ketchup

1/3 cup Cider vinegar

1/3 cup Molasses (not blackstrap)

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce


1 Tbsp Smoked sweet paprika

1 Tbsp Kosher salt

1-1/2 tsp Garlic powder

1-1/2 tsp Onion powder

1-1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper

6 lb Pork

1 C. Pecan, apple, or cherry wood chips


spare ribs


Make the sauce: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion(s) and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in half of the root beer, increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, and boil until the root beer is reduced to a thick syrup, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the remaining root beer, the ketchup, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, and Sriracha and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Make the rub: In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, mixing well. Prepare the ribs: Remove the membrane from the bony side of each rib slab. To do this, slip a small, sharp knife under the membrane at one corner on the bone side of the ribs to loosen an inch or so of the membrane. Using a paper towel for traction, pull the membrane away from the ribs. This may take a couple of tries to remove most of the membrane. Trim off any extraneous surface fat, as well.

Season the ribs all over with the rub. Wrap each slab in heavy-duty aluminum foil, creating a package. Wrap the package again, with a flat side of the foil covering the first folded seam, which will help keep the juices trapped in the foil as you cook and flip the ribs.

Grill the ribs: Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. If using a charcoal grill, let a chimney filled with about 6 pounds charcoal briquettes burn until it is just covered with white ash. Pour the coals out onto the grate and spread them in an even layer. Let the coals burn down for 5 to 10 minutes. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill with all burners on. Turn half of the burners off and adjust the heat to medium-high (400°F to 450°F).

If making a double batch, cook the ribs in two batches. Place the rib packets, seam side up, on the grill. Cover the grill and cook until the meat has shrunk and exposed about 1/2 inch from the rib bone ends (open a packet to look), about 1-1/4 hours. (For a charcoal grill, after 45 minutes, add about twelve briquettes to the coals to help maintain the temperature.) During cooking, carefully turn the packets two or three times with long tongs, taking care not to pierce the foil and release the juices (which would cause flare-ups).

Remove the packets from the grill and let them cool for about 30 minutes. Unwrap the ribs, discarding the fat and juices. Let the ribs cool for another 30 minutes until tepid.

Prepare the grill again for direct cooking over medium-high heat to brown and sauce the ribs. For a charcoal grill, spread the ashed-over coals in an even layer and let them burn for about 20 minutes so they aren’t too hot. Sprinkle the wood chips over the coals. (If making a double batch and grilling in two batches, you will need 1 cup chips for each batch.) For a gas grill, preheat the grill on high, then adjust the heat to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Wrap the chips in an aluminum foil packet and tear open the top of the packet. (If making a double batch and grilling in two batches, you will need to wrap each cup of chips in a separate foil packet.) Place the packet directly on the ignited heat source and heat until the chips are smoking. (If you have a smoker box, omit the foil packet and put the chips in the box.)

Place the now-tepid unwrapped ribs on the grill. Cover the grill and cook, turning the ribs occasionally, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Continue grilling, occasionally brushing with the sauce and keeping the lid closed, until the ribs are glazed, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut between the bones and serve the ribs with any remaining sauce.