Tar-Heel Ribs

Quick look

  • prep 20 min    cook 70 min
  • serves 4

This recipe for grilled spareribs also includes a tangy Georgia-style sauce below.


  • 8 to 10 cups water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 rack (about 3 pounds) pork spareribs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

    How to make it  1 hour, 30 minutes

  • 1

    For poaching: In a very large skillet or roasting pan over moderate heat, bring water, vinegar, and red pepper to a boil. Add ribs and simmer, uncovered, until just cooked through — about 30 minutes. Cool in the liquid.

  • 2

    For the marinade: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Add ribs, turn to coat, and refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

  • 3

    Prepare the grill by heating hardwood coals at one end. Place ribs directly over medium coals about 8 inches from the heat. Cover the grill. Grill until ribs form a crust — about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons of salt.

  • 4

    Move ribs so they are not over direct heat, brush with marinade, cover, and continue grilling, brushing every 5 minutes with marinade, until ribs are richly browned, crusty, and very tender — about 30 minutes longer.

  • 5

    For the sauce: In a small saucepan over moderate heat, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring. Remove from the heat. Serve at room temperature or chilled as a dipping sauce.

Nutritional Information(per serving)

  • Calories: 806
  • Fat: 49g
  • Saturated Fat: 18g
  • Cholesterol: 194mg
  • Sodium: 1,237mg
  • Carbs: 39g
  • Protein: 48g
  • Fiber: 1g

    Georgia-Style Sauce for Ribs
    Rib lovers expect a bright and tangy flavor with ribs. The perfect way to get it is to mix up a sweet and sour sauce.


    • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
    • 1 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 lemon, cut in half

      How to make it 

      Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan, squeezing the lemon into the sauce, then adding and stirring in one of the squeezed halves. Heat slowly — about 10 minutes — to blend flavors. Keep warm and brush lightly over the ribs. Remove lemon half, bring the leftover sauce to a boil, and serve with the ribs at the table. Makes about 3 cups.

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