Kansas City Barbecue Spare Ribs

There is no arguing that Kansas City Barbecue Spare Ribs have a distinctive quality all of their own. These ribs are cooked low and slow, with just the perfect amount of smoke flavor. These sweet and sticky Kansas City space ribs are absolutely mouth-watering.

Kansas City BBQ Spareribs

Kansas City Spare Ribs

Derrick Riches
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American BBQ
Servings 4 people


  • 1 full rack pork spareribs
  • Apple juice optional
  • Spray bottle optional
  • Aluminum foil


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika do not use smoked
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper use less if sensitive to flavor
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt or another coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper use less or omit if preferred

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper


  • To prepare sauce: Make this toward the end of the rib cook time. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot. Add garlic and cook over medium heat until it becomes fragrant; about 30 seconds. Stir often.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, ketchup, and vinegar to the pot. Stir and add brown sugar, molasses, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a quick boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 20-22 minutes. Stirring occasionally. The sauce should be thick.
  • Whisk in butter right before removing from heat. This will provide a silkiness to the sauce. Cover and keep sauce warm.
  • For ribs: Preheat grill or smoker for a 225 degree F. low and slow cook of 6 hours. Follow the manufacturer's directions.
  • Blot ribs dry, and remove the membrane from the back of ribs and cut away any straggling pieces that might otherwise burn on the grill.
  • Blot ribs with a paper towel. Combine rub mixture and apply to ribs. You only need what sticks to the ribs and no more. Don't overpack the rub.
  • Place ribs in grill and smoker, close lid, and leave it be. Watch for temperature fluctuations. If using a smoker, after 3 hours, begin spraying every 30 minutes or so with apple juice until ready to sauce. If using a grill, wrap the ribs in aluminum foil after 3 hours of cooking time, and place back onto the grill for 2 hours and then unwrap.
  • During the last 30 minutes of cook time, apply sauce every 10 minutes, until ribs are done. The internal temperature of the ribs should be at 185 degrees F.
  • Carefully remove from the grill or smoker, and place onto a large cutting board. Cut into individual ribs and enjoy.


Image: Sabrina Baksh
Keyword barbecue ribs, Kansas City Barbecue, pork ribs, spareribs

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