competition ribs
  • Make the rub: Mix sugar, paprika, chili, onion and garlic powders, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Apply generous coat of rub to the ribs and let sit 1 hour.

  • Meanwhile, make the sauce: Whisk together ketchup, sugar, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire, chili powder, paprika, onion and garlic powders, cayenne, pepper, and ¾ cup water in a 4-qt. saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, measure 1 cup into a bowl, and stir in ¼ cup honey and the apple cider vinegar; set aside. (Reserve remaining sauce for another use.) Pour apple juice into a spray bottle; set aside.

  • Prepare your cooker or grill. If using a grill, set it up 2 zone method so that you have both a direct and indirect cooking area. This can be achieved by turning off one of the burners on a gas grill or by putting lit coals on only one half of the bottom of a charcoal grill. If using a grill cook on the side of the grill that doesn’t have hot coal or on the side that the burner is off. Place ribs, meat side up, on grill grate. Maintaining a temperature of 275° (if using a kettle grill or bullet smoker, replenish fire with unlit coals, as needed, to maintain temperature; see instructions), cook, spraying with juice every 30 minutes, for 2 hours. Remove ribs from grill; transfer to 2 large stacked sheets of foil. Drizzle butter, honey, and sugar evenly over both sides of ribs; position ribs meat side down and close foil around ribs. Return to grill and cook for 2 hours or until tender. This can be checked with a skewer or a meat thermometer. Internal temperature will be around 203-205°. Carefully uncover ribs and discard foil. Brush a coat of sauce on both sides of the ribs and return to grill/cooker. Cook for 15 minutes to set the sauce. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.



1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
2 racks St. Louis-cut pork spareribs
(about 3 lb. each)

3 cups ketchup
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp. molasses
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar