Lip-Smacking Best Spare Ribs

Are you a spare-rib lover? If so, this is the ultimate recipe for best-ever spare ribs. The secret lies in cooking the ribs beforehand; then basting with the basting sauce right at the end of the cooking time.

Most recipes marinate the ribs in the sauce; the ribs then become burnt and dry. Once you have mastered this technique and tasted the end result, you will never use another spare-ribs recipe!

Serves 6 (allow 500 g per person)


3 kg pork ribs, cut into portions of two or three ribs
Water, sufficient to reach three-quarters up the side of the pan
2 lemons, thickly sliced
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 onions, unpeeled, cut into wedges

Basting Sauce:

300 ml tomato purée or pulp
30 ml Worcestershire sauce
30 ml soy sauce
25 ml prepared mustard, (Dijon or grainy mustard are good)
100 ml brown sugar
100 ml honey


1. Preheat oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan/Gas mark 3.
2. Cook Ribs: Place portions of ribs into an oven-pan with the water, lemons, carrots and onions.
3. Cover with aluminium foil, shiny side facing the food; bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Cool slightly, before removing the foil. Cool ribs completely in the liquid.
5. Make the basting sauce; place all ingredients into a saucepan, and cook together over a moderate heat until bubbling, and sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
6. Drain off the liquid from the ribs, and discard the lemons, carrots and onions.
7. Set aside the ribs for grilling over the coals; under the grill element; or in a kettle braai.
8. Braai or grill for 10 – 15 minutes; do not use the basting sauce. Turn over ribs from time to time to ensure even browning and heating. Use meat tongs to turn over the meat.
9. Liberally brush the ribs with the basting sauce, and continue to braai for a further 1 – 2 minutes. The ribs will go sticky and crispy. Take care not to burn the basting sauce.
10. Serve immediately.
11. Have available plenty of wet towels, and a finger bowl for each person; sit back and enjoy! Never turn meat with a fork. This pierces the meat, and causes the meat juices to leach out. Meat will be drier and less succulent. Always use tongs to turn meat over.