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Get Out And Grill: BBQ Spare Ribs

Every great BBQ dish starts with two things: local meat and a great marinade.

BBQ spare ribs

Photo: Sarah Kaiser/WFIU

A slice of starfruit and avocado are used to garnish this finished barbecue dish. Enjoy!

Every great BBQ dish starts with a great marinade. (Well, it actually begins with some quality local meat — our spare ribs are from Kiss My Grass Farm in Morgantown, Indiana.)

To start, Chef Daniel Orr is mixing his Columbus Cowboy Espresso Chili Rub with the spare ribs in a plastic bag and shaking it until the ribs are coated. (If you don’t have this specific rub, add some ground espresso to your favorite chili rub. The coffee will give the meat a smoky, roasted flavor.) To that, he adds some of his Big Belly BBQ Sauce and then puts the plastic bag o’ ribs in the fridge overnight. Good flavor takes time!

The next day, the ribs are steamed for 90 minutes before they are grilled. Once the skin is caramelized and crispy from the grill, the ribs are ready to eat.

The garnishes provide a unique touch for this dish. The toasted coconut adds sweet crunchiness to the pork, and the star fruit (or carambola) and orange slice not only add color, but according to Chef Orr, “I like some citrus with my BBQ because you can get the grease off your fingers and it’s a good palate cleanser.”

BBQ Spare Ribs


  • 3-4 portions spare ribs
  • 1/2 cup Columbus Cowboy Spice Rub (or your favorite chili rub with added ground espresso)
  • 1 cup Big Belly BBQ Sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)

Cooking Directions

  1. In a plastic bag, mix ribs with Columbus Cowboy Spice Rub. Then add Big Belly BBQ Sauce and mix.
  2. Store the marinated ribs in the refrigerator over night.
  3. On the next day, steam the ribs in bamboo steamer for 90 minutes. Meat will pull away from the bones.
  4. Put ribs on the grill, under a broiler or in a hot grill pan to caramelize them and make the outside crispy.
  5. Serve drizzled with the marinade and garnished with star fruit, cilantro, avocado and toasted coconut.

Earth Eats Staff

Earth Eats Staff is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

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