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Dry Rub Pork Spare Ribs

Adapted from The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen by Nicole A. Taylor. Copyright © 2015. Used with permission of the publisher, Countryman Press. All rights reserved. Instagram @foodculturist

Chef Taylor’s newest cookbook, Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations, is a collection of creative, modern dishes that pay homage to the long history of Black cookouts that led to the diverse American BBQ cultures we enjoy today. This recipe, from her previous book, is perfect for cold weather since it’s done in the oven. The interesting spice combination here, along with the liquid smoke and brown sugar, make for a remarkably complex dish with a rich return on effort of stirring together the rub ingredients.


4 pounds pork spare ribs
3 tablespoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon chili powder


Remove membrane from ribs by loosening with a butter knife and pulling off, using a paper towel for grip. Rinse and pat the ribs dry. Mix together all remaining ingredients. This is your dry rub.

Coat all the ribs, both sides, with the rub. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Heat oven to 350°F.

Transfer ribs to a lipped baking sheet or jelly roll pan lined with foil and fitted with a flat rack, such as an ovenproof cooling rack. Cook the ribs uncovered for 1½ hours. Cover with foil and cook an additional 45 minutes. The ribs will have a deep brown color and the meat should easily come off the bone when done.


Quivira 2019 Wine Creek Ranch Grenache (Dry Creek Valley); 90 Points

Depending on region and producer, chameleonic Grenache (or Garnacha) can show flavors of berries, licorice, spice, dried herbs, flowers, citrus and smoke. American Grenache tends more toward bold fruit and spices like cinnamon and pepper that echo ingredients in the rib rubs. This California bottling exudes red fruit, spice and hints of roasted meat that—with the tannins and acidity to cut the richness—is a no-brainer for these ribs.

Or try it with an unaged corn whiskey

Fine examples of this are usually lighter and cleaner on the palate with a hint of butterscotch or caramel element that won’t obscure the complex smoke-sweet-spice mix of this rub.

This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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