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Help with pork spareribs

gimlis1mum Aug 15, 2012 11:11 AM

I am not much of a rib eater, and I've never cooked them. But I've accumlated 5 1-lb packages of pork spareribs from our meat CSA and I need to use them. A friend's baby shower is this weekend so it's a good opportunity to cook them all at once.

The racks are short and wide - about 10" long and 8" wide at the longest rib. I was planning to use a bulgogi marinade.


1. Should I marinate the racks whole, cook 'em, then cut into individual ribs? Or cut apart, then marinate and cook?

2. How long should I cook them (recipes seem to vary wildly in the amount of time - grill a few minutes to bake for hours)? In the oven or on the grill? We have a gas grill & I could fit them all on it at once, I think.

3. Can I cook them the day before & serve at room temp, or do I need to cook, pack, and depart for the shower?


  1. biondanonima Aug 15, 2012 11:59 AM

    1. Cook them whole. Marinating is optional.

    2. I have never been happy with the tenderness of pork ribs that are quickly grilled. Do them low and slow in the oven (250-300 degrees), covered with foil, for a couple of hours or until the meat comes off the bones pretty easily. You can then finish them on the grill for a couple of minutes to crisp them up if desired (or just throw them under the broiler).

    3. You can serve at room temp if you like but I prefer them hot and crisp. Will there be anywhere at the shower where you can do a quick reheat? Oven space available?

    1. EarlyBird Aug 15, 2012 12:11 PM

      I agree with biondanonima's approach, only I would not go over 250 degrees, and cook them considerably longer.

      - Put them in the oven at 250 for two hours.
      - At the beginning of the third hour wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and continue to cook for one hour.
      - At the end of hour 3 unwrap them. At this time you should see considerable "pullback" of the meat from the bones.
      - Finish them in the oven for another hour and they should be done. It will be pretty apparent. The meat will be falling apart and when you twist a bone it should turn very easily. You don't want them truly "falling off the bone," but close.
      - If you want that grilled flavor and a bit of browning, throw them on the grill quickly for just a few minutes.

      FYI, you could also do the entire thing on the grill if you prefer, but you must be able to monitor the temperature at the grill, not directly under the lid (where most built-in grill thermometers live). That's critical. 225 - 250 (max). Going too high OR too low, and you'll have dry and or tough ribs. A good digital thermometer is critical.

      1 Reply
      1. re: EarlyBird
        biondanonima Aug 15, 2012 12:38 PM

        I agree with EarlyBird that lower and slower is better, but I've gone up to 300 degrees when I was in a hurry and the final product was still excellent. Also just realized that you have regular ribs and not baby backs - you will definitely need to cook them longer than a couple hours - 3 or 4 is more like it, especially if you keep the temp at 250.

      2. f
        FrankJBN Aug 15, 2012 12:34 PM

        So you seldom eat ribs and never cook them, but you figure you will serve them to guests prepared with a korean beef marinade instead of any traditional way? Your choice I guess.

        1. marinade whole, if you can, rip the membrane from the back of the ribs.

        It's the summer, cook your ribs on the grill. "Grill a few minutes"? Never. There are plenty of recipes around, I'm not going to reprint any. Figure cook time around a couple of hours however you cook.

        I wouldn't serve at room temperature.

        I'm surprised that as a guy I think of this, but you know, I would have sworn that any of my girlfriends would tell me "No, you don't serve ribs at a baby shower, because they are messy (and if they are not messy they are not good ribs)"

        3 Replies
        1. re: FrankJBN
          KSlink Aug 15, 2012 12:58 PM

          I cracked up at your last comment, because it was the very first thing that came to my mind--ribs at a baby shower??? Granted, it's been a very long time since I went to one, but they are (or at least were) somewhat dressy occasions. Who knows, maybe it's an outdoor, laid back BBQ affair?

          1. re: FrankJBN
            gimlis1mum Aug 15, 2012 05:07 PM

            Well, yes, I suppose this does sound odd. But I know how to cook, and I cook lots of meat, just not ribs. I often serve food to guests without giving the recipe a "test run" but I guess that makes me a risky cook :-)

            I wanted to use a pork bulgogi marinade which is not that different from the beef version, except for the addition of gochujiang (according to my cookbooks). Daeji galbi is traditional if you're Korean, as is our mom-to-be. (She was excited when I told her that I wanted to bring the ribs).

            It's an outdoor, casual affair for an international bunch. (Baby showers are apparently not traditional in Korea). Messy food is not a problem, as long as it tastes good. I can ask the hostess if I can use her oven to warm things up, but it sounds like I can put the ribs in the oven in the morning and then take them with me in the afternoon.

            Thanks for all of the suggestions!

            1. re: gimlis1mum
              bagofwater Aug 16, 2012 08:07 AM

              Come to think of it, if you're going to marinate in a Korean-style marinade, I'd recommend cooking at a lower temperature temperature. There are a lot of sugars in that marinade, and you don't want them to scorch.

              I would suggest maybe doing a rub with gochu garoo (the red pepper powder), salt, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Then glaze the ribs at the end with a reduction of what you were going to use for the marinade. Come to think of it, that sounds pretty good. I may give that a try myself.

          2. b
            bagofwater Aug 15, 2012 01:25 PM

            1. Cook/marinate the whole slab. You may want to trim them St. Louis style first, to get them to cook more quickly and evenly.
            2. At 300f, expect them to take about four hours, give or take. There is no need to cook spare ribs at a very low temperature, but I wouldn't go much higher than 300f, either. You can use the oven, or you can use the grill with INDIRECT HEAT.
            3. Cook them before you go to the shower. Give yourself a couple hours' leeway, and when they're done wrap them in foil and pack them in a cooler. This will keep the ribs warm for several hours. Cut them when you get to the shower.

            Here is what you're looking for: meat that pulls back significantly on the bone; a probe (toothpick or other pokey thing) that slides easily in and out of the meat between the bones.

            And don't forget to trim the silverskin before you cook!

            1. PHREDDY Aug 15, 2012 02:30 PM

              Agree with what has been said here..Have the ribs been butchered correctly?...if so all of methods above are fine...low and slow....quick cooking...tough ribs...the next thing to consider is the seasoning.......do you want a dry or wet rub?....that will also affect your cook time...I like a dry rub...cook the ribs slowly, then serve with a sweet or savory sauce on the side , when they are slightly crispy and charred...

              1. k
                kseiverd Aug 15, 2012 05:17 PM

                Last time I made ribs... baby-back pork ribs. Used Alton Brown's (Who's Your Baby... backribs) recipe... as a "quideline". Dry rub put on and ribs wrapped in a couple layers of heavy duty foil (need to be able to open ends to add liquid later)... then into fridge over-night (or several hours??). A liquid mixture... can't recall just what went in at the moment)... poured into packets and they slow cooked in oven for 2-3+ hours at a relatively low temp... maybe 275-300 max. When they were "done" (easily cut thru or mice and "bendy")... onto hot grill to brown up.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kseiverd
                  EarlyBird Aug 16, 2012 07:53 AM

                  Since I love everything that Alton Brown, who my friend refers to as "Saint Alton the Brown," does, I looked up his recipe. I am astonished that he has the ribs cooking at 2 1/2 hours only at 225. It seems much too short of a time at that temperature. Perhaps it because he keeps them wrapped in foil the entire time. Hmm..

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