RECIPE: Baby back ribs with spicy rub & BBQ sauce

This dish from the 'Weber Classics' cookbook is sure to be a hit with guests at your next braai

14 September 2017 - 00:00 By Jamie Purviance
Baby back ribs with spicy rub and molasses BBQ sauce.
Baby back ribs with spicy rub and molasses BBQ sauce.
Image: 'Weber Classics: The Ultimate Braai Book'

Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Braaiing time: 3¼–4¼ hours 


2 racks baby back ribs, each 1–1.2 kg

1 cup beer, preferably lager, for basting

Spicy rub:

2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar

1 tbsp coarse sea salt or rock salt

2 teaspoons chipotle seasoning or smoked paprika powder

2 tsp garlic flakes

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

BBQ sauce:

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 cup tomato purée or tomato sauce

¾ cup light molasses 

½ cup beer, preferably lager

¼ cup cider vinegar

3 tbsp tomato paste

1½ tsp mustard powder

1 tsp garlic flakes


1. Using a dull knife, slide the tip under the membrane covering the back of each rack of ribs. Lift and loosen the membrane until you can pry it up, then grab a corner of it with a paper towel and pull it off.

2. Combine the rub ingredients. Season the racks all over with the rub, and leave them to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes before braaiing.

3. Prepare the braai for indirect cooking over low heat 120°–180°C.

4. Meanwhile, make the BBQ sauce. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until slightly softened, 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.

6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, for 18–20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

7. To braai the ribs, place the racks, bone side down, over indirect low heat, as far from the heat as possible, close the lid, and cook for 3 hours. After the first hour, baste the racks with beer, particularly any areas that are looking a little dry. Continue to baste with beer every hour or so.

8. After 3 hours, check to see if one or both racks are ready to come off the braai. They are done when the meat has shrunk back from the ends of most of the bones by 5 mm or more. Lift a rack by picking up one end with tongs. It should bend in the middle and the meat should tear easily. If the meat does not tear easily, return the racks to the braai, close the lid, and continue cooking for up to 1 hour more.

9. Remove the racks from the braai and lightly brush them on both sides with some of the sauce.

10. Return the racks to the braai and cook over indirect low heat, with the lid closed, until the surface is slightly crispy, 10–20 minutes, turning occasionally.

11. Remove from the braai and leave to rest for 5–10 minutes. Cut the racks between the bones into individual ribs and serve warm with the remaining sauce.

Recipe and photo from 'Weber Classics: The Ultimate Braai Book' by Jamie Purviance.