The Rib Bible: Everything You Need To Know To Make Perfect Barbecued Ribs

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

The Rib Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Make Perfect Barbecued Ribs

Barbecue is part of the canonical gospels of Southern cuisine. Dry rubs, marinades, cuts of meat, and sauces all vary by location; however, there is one consistent offering you will find on almost every true barbecue menu whether it is the local specialty or not: ribs. 

Barbecue, with its slow, smoky, controlled process, can make even the toughest meats tender, rendering otherwise sinewy and fatty ribs more ideal for the smoker than for the stovetop. Of course, if you don't have access to a outdoor grill or smoker, there are many recipes that will produce a similar smoked meat flavor indoors.

The locals in each barbecue region fiercely defend their styles and specialties under the greater barbecue umbrella, from North Carolina's vinegary sauces slathered onto buns filled with chopped pork and coleslaw to Kansas City's tomato-based sauce and burnt ends. However, for the purposes of this article, we are only concerned with ribs: baby backs, beef ribs, St. Louis-style, and spareribs.


Adams’ Ribs

These sweet and spicy ribs are rubbed with Creole seasoning and basted with a sweet and savory sauce as they cook for the perfect marriage of flavors. — Kristie Collado

For Adams' Ribs recipe, click here.

Baby Back RibsBaby Back Ribs

These grilled baby back ribs are basically foolproof. Using a brown-sugar and Cajun-spice seasoning, cook them until tender, and serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

For the Baby Back Ribs recipe, click here.

Barbecue Championship Ribs

The ribs that are prepared for the big cook-offs around the country are quite different from what you would normally cook at home or eat in a restaurant. Over the years of cooking, the barbecue pros have learned that making your ribs a little bit too tender and a little bit too sweet can get you a good score when they are judged. Ray Lampe

For the Barbecue Championship Ribs recipe, click here.

Beef Ribs With Sorghum Glaze

A delicious sorghum glaze coats these tender beef ribs, which are a great barbecue alternative for those who don't want to eat pork. They're perfect for the Fourth of July or pretty much anytime the mood strikes during the summer. — David Guas

For the Beef Ribs With Sorghum Glaze recipe, click here.

Beer-Basted Baby Back Ribs

Talk about delicious. These flavorful ribs are seasoned with a dry rub before they're grilled, basted with a beer sauce as they cook, and finished with a coating of sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. — Kristie Collado

For the Beer-Basted Baby Back Ribs recipe, click here.

Best Chinese Spareribs

Chinese spareribs, also known as Cantonese BBQ or char siu, are spareribs that are marinated in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and spices and barbecued or roasted. This is easily one of our best spareribs recipes due to its ability to deliver the taste and texture of ribs you can typically only find at your local Chinatown. It doesn't require you to buy esoteric ingredients for the marinade or pork. Either Kansas City-style or St. Louis-style spareribs can be used. — Soni Satpathy

For the Best Chinese Spareribs recipe, click here.

Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs

This go-to recipe for classic barbecued ribs will render tender and delicious ribs without hours spent manning a smoker. Make these ribs in just three simple steps (season, bake, and then grill). — Kristie Collado

For the Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs recipe, click here.

Best Honey Barbecue Country-Style Ribs

These ribs bring sweet heat to your kitchen! This recipe is one of our favorites from our collection of the best country-style ribs recipes because it's so easy and delicious! It uses common kitchen staples to produce a well-balanced, kicky sauce to dress luscious slabs of boneless ribs. If you're looking to add more spice to the dish, you can always increase your chili powder in increments of 1/2 teaspoons. — Soni Satpathy

For the Best Honey Barbecue Country-Style Ribs recipe, click here.

Big Game Baby Back Ribs

You'll need lots of spices to dry-rub these ribs, but you'll be rewarded with big flavor. Mix up a large batch of this dry rub and keep it on hand for easy ribs all summer long. — Kristie Collado

For the Big Game Baby Back Ribs recipe, click here.

Black Cherry and Jägermeister Baby Back Ribs

You'd better make a double batch of these sweet and sticky ribs.. They're cooked in cherry cola and then covered in an irresistible and easy-to-make sauce that's spiked with Jägermeister. The result? A rack of fall-off-the-bone, finger-licking good ribs. — Kristie Collado

For the Black Cherry and Jägermeister Baby Back Ribs recipe, click here.

Brûléed Ribs

These ribs are smoked, and then brushed with sugar water and torched to create a sweet and sticky brûléed crust.

For the Brûléed Ribs recipe, click here.

David Guas’ Championship Glazed Ribs

A Homemade rub with smoked paprika and a pile of applewood chips in the grill infuse these tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs with a thick, smoky flavor. — David Guas, author of Grill Nation: 200 Surefire Recipes, Tips, and Techniques to Grill Like a Pro.

For the Championship Glazed Ribs recipe, click here.

Chimichurri Beef Ribs

These delicious beef ribs, from blogger and grilling expert Chris Grove, have a bold, fresh flavor thanks to the herbaceous chimichurri  marinade. Don't forget to save some of the delicious chimichurri to use as a condiment for the finished ribs . — Chris Grove

For the Chimichurri Beef Ribs recipe, click here.

Chocolate-Chipotle Ribs

Bitter cocoa nibs add the perfect savory — yet chocolaty — flavor to the rub for these ribs. Amp the chocolate flavor up even more by incorporating chopped, chile-spiked chocolate to the scratch-made barbecue sauce as well. Kristie Collado

For the Chocolate-Chipotle Ribs recipe, click here.

Country-Style Ribs With Jalapeño-Peach Sauce

Canned peaches and brown sugar add an incredible amount of sweetness to these smoky country-style pork ribs. Brush the ribs with a scratch-made peach and jalapeño sauce as they cook for lots of delicious flavor. — National Pork Board

For the Country-Style Ribs With Jalapeño-Peach Sauce recipe, click here.

Curried Denver Lamb Ribs

These smoky, savory ribs get lots of flavor from a dry rub made with blended curry spices. If you don't have curry at home, grilling expert Robyn Lindars of Grill Girl suggests making your own version by combining cardamom, turmeric, cumin, coriander, dry mustard, and ground chipotle chiles. — Kristie Collado

For the Curried Denver Lamb Ribs recipe, click here.

Double-Smoked Bacon Wrapped Ribs

St. Louis spareribs have never tasted so good. Serve these individually portioned bacon-wrapped spareribs with a mustard-style barbecue sauce.

For the Double-Smoked Bacon Wrapped Ribs recipe, click here.

Firecracker Pork Ribs

Forget Buffalo wings; these tangy ribs are about to become your new favorite finger food. Brush the ribs with Buffalo sauce as they cook for extra flavor. — National Pork Board

For the Firecracker Pork Ribs recipe, click here.


Make your own Korean barbecue at home with these marinated beef short ribs. You only need a few ingredients to make the marinade, and you'll be rewarded with lots of authentic flavor. — Kristie Collado

For the Galbi recipe, click here.

Glazed Ribs

These juicy, succulent St. Louis-style spareribs get great flavor from a dry rub that's also delicious on chicken, fish, and vegetables. They're perfect for serving a crowd at a leisurely weekend barbecue. —  Will Budiaman

For the Glazed Ribs recipe, click here.

Glazed Sweet-Sour Spareribs

I suppose you might call these barbecued spareribs, but they're a long way from true barbecue cooked long and slow over hickory coals. No matter. These ribs are succulent and full of flavor. The perfect accompaniments? Coleslaw and fresh-baked corn bread. — Jean Anderson

For the Glazed Sweet-Sour Spareribs recipe, click here.

Grilled Buffalo-Style BBQ Ribs

Ribs are a grilling favorite and these have a double dose of spice. Tabasco is used in the rub and marinade to make these ribs extra spicy and fall-off-the-bone tender. — Anne Dolce

For the Grilled Buffalo-Style BBQ Ribs recipe, click here.

Hoi-Sinful Spareribs

If you can't babysit the ribs on the grill, then cook them in the oven and finish them on the grill to add a little smoky perfume. Even though baby back or county-style ribs look meatier, we prefer spareribs for succulent pork that is finger-lickin', lip-smackin' good. — Canal House

For the Hoi-Sinful Spareribs recipe, click here.

‘House of Cards’ Frank's Favorite Ribs

These smoky, paprika-rubbed baby back ribs are baked in the oven, so they're easy to make all year round. Finish them in the broiler to add color and a little bit of char. — Kristie Collado

For the 'House of Cards' Frank's Favorite Ribs recipe, click here.

Kalbi Korean Short Ribs

These tasty Korean short ribs are marinated in honey, garlic, tamari, sesame, and ginger for a sweet and savory flavor. Wrap them in buttery bib lettuce leaves and serve them with rice, kimchi, and kochujang. — Kristie Collado

For the Kalbi Korean Short Ribs recipe, click here.

Kansas City-Style Pork Back Ribs

The only thing these sweet, sticky ribs need is a side of creamy coleslaw and a skillet of fluffy cornbread! — National Pork Board

For the Kansas-City-Style Pork Back Ribs recipe click here.

Memphis-Style Dry-Rubbed Ribs

Memphis is not only the pork barbecue capital of the world; it's home to dry-rubbed ribs. Here with her take on the Bluff City classic is Kingsford Invitational judge and owner of Memphis Barbecue Co., Melissa Cookston. Make the dry rub (and add it to your rack of ribs) a day in advance for maximum flavor. — Melissa Cookston

For the Memphis-Style Dry-Rubbed Ribs recipe, click here.

Mike's Caribbean Spiced Ribs

All you need to make these delicious baby back ribs is brown sugar, salt, and a few dried spices. Rub the ribs with the spice blend and then let them marinate for a few hours before steaming and grilling. — Kristie Collado

For the Mike's Caribbean Spiced Ribs recipe, click here.


Molasses- and Peanut Butter-Glazed Ribs

The great thing about these flavorful baby back ribs (aside from the sweet and savory peanut butter glaze) is that they're ready in less than an hour, making a delicious summer meal that much easier. — Kristie Collado

For the Molasses- and Peanut Butter-Glazed Ribs recipe, click here.

St. Louis Ribs

These St. Louis-style ribs from John Rivers' The Southern Cowboy Cookbook are basted with apple juice for lightly sweet, smoky, tender ribs.

For the St. Louis Ribs recipe, click here.

Sticky Asian Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

You'll be surprised at how much flavor you can pack into these ribs with just a handful of ingredients. The secret is the Chinese five-spice powder. If you can't find it, substitute a blend of equal parts ground star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. — Kristie Collado

For the Sticky Asian Barbecued Baby Back Ribs recipe, click here.

Tamarind and Sumac Lamb Ribs

These ribs pair excellently with any light tabbouleh, couscous, or cucumber salad. — Mat Clouser

For the Tamarind and Sumac Lamb Ribs recipe, click here.

Texas Beef Ribs

Even the pros know that you don't need a lot of ingredients to make really delicious ribs. These flavorful, fall-off-the-bone beef ribs from Clint Cantwell, editor of Grillocacy and Kingsford only use a handful of ingredients but they're so good we guarantee you'll be grilling these up all summer long.

For the Texas Beef Ribs recipe, click here.

Vietnamese Spareribs With Chile and Lemongrass

Like other Vietnamese restaurants Nam Phuong in Atlanta serves phờ, but its ribs, are the best thing on the menu. The meat is tender with a crackly exterior. Nam Phuong uses flanken, or crosscut ribs, which are like little rib nuggets, each with a bone inside. You can order different sauces, but my favorite is the chile and lemongrass. To bring you those flavors and textures, I steam-bake the ribs until tender and then broil and baste them with a purée of lemongrass, chiles, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and sugar. A little riceon the side is perfect. — Kevin Gillespie, author of Pure Pork Awesomeness

For the Vietnamese Spareribs With Chile and Lemongrass recipe, click here.