Spare ribs with whiskey barbecue sauce


I can’t imagine a bbq without spare ribs. Maybe I watched too many Clint Eastwood movies as a child, but I always wanted to make a whiskey (or burbon) based bbq sauce. I used it in combination with orange marmelade and it works so well. I always cook the ribs a couple of hours in the oven, covered, and then I throw them on the grill, basting with the sauce. They always come out melt-in-the-mouth, drop-off-the-bone delicious.

For the rub

Make more of this spice mix and keep it in a jar. It adds tons of flavour to any grilled meat or fish.

  • 1 tbs mustard powder
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs paprica
  • 1 tbs ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbs sea salt (or 2 tsp table salt)
  • 4 tbs dark brown sugar

3 racks baby back ribs, approx. 2,2 kg (4,85 pounds)

For the whiskey bbq σauce

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • one thumb size piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • ¼ cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ½ cup good quality whiskey
  • 200gr orange marmalade
  • 2 Tbs cider vinegar


Mix together all the ingredients for the rub. Line a baking tray with a large piece of foil. Oil the foil lightly with a pastry brush. Put ribs in the tray. Dont panic if the ribs dont fit in the tray in one layer. Wear plastic gloves if you must and rub the spice mix all over the ribs, massaging the meat very well. Cover tray tightly with heavy duty foil. Let the ribs marinate for 2-12 hours.

Preheat oven to 175 C fan (345 F). The ribs should be at room temperature before baking. Bake the ribs covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes. At this stage you can cool the ribs and keep them refrigerated for one day, or freeze for upto a month.

Make the barbeque sauce. In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic, onion and ginger. Cook, stirring ocasionally until they are soft and fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix. As soon as the sauce boils, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes until it thickens slightly. Transfer in a blender (use caution, sauce will be very hot) and blitz until sauce is smooth. Put sauce in a bowl next to the grill.

Light the grill to medium heat. Cook the ribs over indirect heat, basting liberally with the sauce, around 40 minutes, turning them every 10 minutes. Alternatively you can cook ribs in the oven. Turn on your oven grill to medium and cook ribs in the baking tray, basting and turning every 10 minutes. Serve with tons of table napkins.

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