Cooking, Food, Recipe

Father’s Day: Spicy Ribs

Since men are usually the masters of the grill, playing with fire and slabs ‘o meat and slathering on the heat in the form of hot sauces… Dads, this recipe is for you.

Berbere-spiced ribs and Slaw
Berbere-spiced ribs and Slaw

If you’re grilling, you’ll want to have two fire receptacles available. One should be a smoker or grill with a cover. This is what you’ll be cooking in. The other just has to be able to hold fire as you’ll use it to start new coals periodically to keep the heat on the ribs.

If you’re going to do this in the oven (as I did. Thunderstorms are not conducive to grilling with no cover) you’ll want to preheat to 275 deg F.

Rub that meat...
Rub that meat…

Berbere-Spiced Rib Rub


  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder (or flakes)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sichuan pepper (black pepper will work)
  • 1 1/2 tsp berbere (you can sub in cayenne but it will be less spicy)


  • Mix together the dry spices and sugar until homogeneous.
  • Rub the mixture evenly on all surfaces of your rack of ribs. Double this if you are doing two racks.
  • If leaving the rub on for 24 hours wrap tightly in layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate. You can also start cooking right away.
  • Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

    If you are oven-baking, you will want to wrap the ribs in aluminum foil (I also lined my pan with it) for the first part of cooking low and slow. Put the rubbed ribs in the oven for 3-4 hours (definitely 4 for a full rack like I was doing) at 275 deg F.

    After the initial cooking period.
    After the initial cooking period, I pulled off the top layer of foil to let it start to develop a crust. 

    If you’re working on a grill, keep an eye on the temp. You don’t want it to drop under about 225 and keeping it at 275 is best. Adding a few coals to the existing ones and letting them ignite is best, but can take practice to maintain, so keep your chimney handy to start fresh ones as needed.

    The doneness of tender meat, searing spices, and sweet sauce.
    The doneness of tender meat, searing spices, and sweet sauce.

    Once you’re happy with the meat – it should be loose on the bones, almost falling off – turn the oven up to 350 deg F and slather some BBQ sauce on the upper surface. On the grill, start brushing on the sauce about 30 min before serving time and kick up the fire a notch. I prefer a caramelized (but not burnt!) surface, so I take the heat up. You don’t want to put sauce on any earlier, it will burn as it’s a lot of sugar.

    Oh, and all those drippings? Save those… you can make baked beans, or cheat and mix them in with some canned baked beans. So good.

    Serve the ribs witha little more sauce basted on. It's like meat cake, with icing.
    Serve the ribs with a little more sauce basted on. It’s like meat cake, with icing.

    I served this with slaw on the side. I’d have done more side dishes (cornbread, beans, collards…) but I knew we’d be full from feasting on the ribs, and I was right!

    Ribs aren’t hard to do. They just take patience. I never par-boil ribs, that’s an abomination and a sin unto good meat. Low, slow cooking means it takes time, but it’s so worth the effort.

    Oh – and follow them up with Old-Fashioned Ice Cream to soothe the burn!

    Plain Jane Vanilla Ice Cream
    Plain Jane Vanilla Ice Cream

    Leave a Reply