Use this pork rib marinade to enhance the flavor of your smoked, grilled, oven baked, or air-fried ribs. The best part is that this homemade marinade can also be used on pork roasts and chops.
If you’re new to outdoor cooking, you might wonder what method produces the most tender, succulent pork ribs. Usually, ribs are coated in mustard and dusted with a generous amount of dry rub. However, some older methods have fallen by the wayside–for instance, marinating pork ribs before grilling them.
Luckily, this method is making a comeback, and we’re here for it!
Our pork rib marinade can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. This recipe makes enough for 2 racks of baby back ribs or St. Louis cut ribs.
Marinating Pork Ribs
Marinades combine oil and acidic ingredients like vinegar, citrus, and other fruit juices. The acids help tenderize the meat and keep it tender as it cooks. The trick with pork ribs is to marinate for a short time, like 2-6 hours, rather than a longer 12-24 hour period. Pork ribs contain a small amount of meat, making them more prone to over-marinating and mushiness. The key to marinating is timing. Remember that some pitmasters use an injectable marinade for pork ribs, so the same principle applies. While pork is heartier than poultry, fish, and seafood, it is more delicate than red meats like beef, lamb, and venison. A shorter marinating time will yield better results.
Other Ways to Use a Pork Rib Marinade
Are you a fan of country-style pork ribs? You can use this pork rib marinade on them too! While country-style pork ribs are not technically ribs but rather cut from the pork shoulder, they will benefit from the tenderizing effects of this marinade.
Keep in mind that marinades are not miracle workers. They will flavor and tenderize the meat. However, it should be paired with low and slow cooking to achieve the best results, especially for tougher cuts like ribs, country-style ribs, pork loin roasts, pork belly, and thick-cut pork chops. Use 1 cup of marinade per rack of ribs (or 2 1/2-3 pounds of meat).
Pork Rib Marinade Ingredients:
- Chicken or vegetable stock
- Reduced-sodium soy sauce (sub with tamari for gluten-free option)
- Dark brown sugar (sub with coconut sugar or honey)
- White wine vinegar (sub with apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar)
- Avocado or olive oil
- Fresh garlic (sub with minced shallot or 1/2 tsp garlic powder))
- Worcestershire sauce
How to Make It:
- Whisk together all pork rib marinade ingredients in a medium glass or plastic bowl. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Stir again to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
- This recipe makes enough for 2 racks of baby backs or 2 racks of St. Louis cut ribs. Remember to remove the rib membrane before marinating.
- Place 1 rack of spare ribs into a resealable plastic bag. Pour 1 cup of the mixture into the bag and carefully close. Make sure to release all the air from the bag. Place the bag into the refrigerator and marinate for 2-6 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the bag and discard the remaining pork rib marinade. Gently lot the meat and rib bones with paper towels.
- Season the ribs with a no-salt added rub. We recommend any pork rib rub recipes (minus the salt). Use 3 tablespoons of dry rub per rack or 1 tablespoon per pound of meat.
- Grill ribs (or bake) as directed. Follow our informative recipe guide for the perfect Smoked Pork Ribs.
Like this pork rib marinade recipe? Try these!
- Pellet Grill Baby Back Ribs
- Beef Rib Marinade
- Brisket Injection Marinade
- Garlic Butter Turkey Injection Marinade
Pork Rib Marinade
- 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium glass or plastic bowl. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Stir again to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Place 1 rack of ribs into a resealable plastic bag. Pour 1 cup of mixture into the bag and carefully close.Make sure to release all the air from the bag. Ribs should be well immersed in liquid. Place into the refrigerator and marinate for 2-6 hours.
- Remove ribs from the bag, discard remaining marinade. Blot the ribs with paper towels, leaving just a slight bit of moisture on them.
- Season the ribs with a no salt added rub. We recommend any of our pork rib rub recipes (minus the salt). Use about 3 tablespoons of dry rub per rack, or 1 tablespoon per pound of meat.
- Cook as directed.