Salt and pepper ribs with barbecue sauce

August 15, 2016

There is something about the sunshine that brings with it the urge to get out the barbecue. When walking the dog on a summer evening the smell of cooking wafts though the air. The smells vary depending which garden you pass, everyone has their favourite barbecue dish. There is something primal about a barbecue. Cooking the meat on coals, eating food with your fingers and tearing meat off the bone with your teeth. These are all reminders of the days when we hunted meat.

Ribs are a classic barbecue dish. A speciality of barbecues in the deep south of America, cooked slowly in a hot pit until the meat is meltingly tender. Inexpensive and full of flavour they are an ideal dish for a crowd. Different sauces can be used to make ribs for all occasions.

Salt and pepper ribs with barbecue sauce

My husband and son are great lovers of ribs. Salt and pepper ribs are a great favourite as are barbecue ribs. I decided to see if I could combine the two flavours into one. The result was salt and pepper ribs with barbecue sauce. They have the salty peppery flavour of salt and pepper ribs which combines nicely with the warm smoky tang of the barbecue sauce. The ribs make the perfect dish for a summer day served with coleslaw, potato salad or carrot and raisin salad.

salt and pepper ribs with barbecue sauce

To add the salt and pepper flavour to the ribs I made a rub from a combination of salt, black pepper, fennel seeds, cayenne pepper, paprika and brown sugar. After rubbing this into the ribs I let them sit in the fridge for several hours to take on the flavour. If you have time leave them overnight.

To make the ribs meltingly tender they should be cooked slowly for a few hours. Leaving them in the oven on a low heat for five or six hours is ideal. While they cook you can make the barbecue sauce. Home made barbecue sauce is simple to make and the taste is much nicer. You know exactly what you have put into it and it will keep in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks. It will be eaten long before then as it tastes so nice.

salt and pepper ribs in barbecue sauce

Home made barbecue sauce

Home made barbecue sauce is really easy to make. Just mix some pasata, balsamic vinegar, dark muscovado sugar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and orange juice to a pan with some crushed garlic and a little butter. I used Cirio pasata as its rich tomato flavour really adds to the taste of the sauce. Bring the contents of the pan to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. The sugar will dissolve and the sauce become glossy.  Leave to cool and it is ready for use. The sauce is perfect for adding to burgers and other dishes as well as these ribs. It is worth the extra time to make the sauce yourself as it is more flavourful.

salt and pepper ribs with barbecue sauce

When the ribs are cooked you can brush the barbecue sauce onto them and cook for an extra half an hour in the oven or on the barbecue to add more flavour. Alternatively you can serve the sauce on the side and dip the ribs into them. Cooking the ribs longer after the sauce has been added gives them a tangy coating that works really well.

Salt and pepper ribs with barbecue sauce recipe

Salt and pepper ribs



  • 3 racks of ribs
  • 8 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 200 g dark brown muscavado sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic


  • Peel and crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar with the fennel seeds and black peppercorns.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
  • Rub over the ribs
  • Leave the ribs in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C Gas Mark 4
  • Place the ribs in a roasting tin and cover with foil
  • Bake for five to six hours until tender


If serving with barbecue sauce brush the sauce on the ribs and cook for another half an hour

Barbecue sauce recipe

Barbecue sauce



  • 200 g Cirio passata
  • 100 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 100 g dark muscavado sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • juice ½ orange
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 10 g butter


  • Peel and crush the garlic
  • Add to a pan with the other ingredients
  • Bring to the boil
  • Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sugar dissolves

Why not pin the recipe to make later?

salt ad pepper ribs with barbecue sauce

What is your favourite barbecue recipe? Let me know below.

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6 responses to “Salt and pepper ribs with barbecue sauce”

  1. This is something I always order when we get a Chinese, so I will have to give it a try myself if it is this easy.

  2. Galina V says:

    Love your homemade BBQ sauce, and the ribs look very appetizing too.

  3. Looks so tasty! reminds me a bit of the black pepper chicken found in asia. Love the flavours’ contrast

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