Pork Spare Ribs

pork spare ribs with fries

Now let me begin this post with a little disclaimer. I am a total sucker for pork spare ribs. Back in the day my friends and I would get our weekly fix of ribs from a local restaurant Buzz Cafe in Lower Hutt . The ribs at this place were oven baked and smothered in Rocket Fuel sauce.

Every Thursday evening my friends and I would head down after the gym for our plate of ribs accompanied with potatoes and slaw and life was good.

Buzz Cafe no longer exists unfortunately. There are other restaurants around to get a slab of ribs but why bother when we can simply smoke a couple slabs at home.

Let’s take a look at smoking ribs on the Mini WSM.

Pork Spare Ribs Smoked on the Mini WSM

I like to use a dry rub on my ribs, sugar, paprika, garlic, onion, herbs & spices with a bit of cayenne for kick. If you’re not keen on making your own rub then I highly recommend SpiceCraft’s Kiwi Rub. SpiceCraft are a local New Zealand business and I really rate their Kiwi rub and always make sure that I have a packet in my pantry. Apply rub to ribs a couple hours before smoking so that the rub has time to penetrate the meat – try over night for best results.

pork spare ribs smoking

You can’t put a time on cooking ribs as it varies too much between cooks. At best I aim for around 4 hours at 125°C / 250°F. You will know when he ribs are done when the meat begins to shrink away from the bone. The meat should read 87°C / 190°F on a thermometer (make sure you’re taking the temp away from the bone).

pork spare ribs mop sauce

 Use a Mop Sauce

Through out the duration cook I like to brush with a mop sauce periodically, maybe 4-5 times. The mop sauce is a simple sauce of apple juice, butter and bourbon. This will help the ribs from drying out. A spray bottle of water will work as well if you do not want to use a mop sauce.

I don’t tend to coat my ribs in sauce if I am cooking for myself, I will share some sauced rib recipes for when I have guests later on.

The ribs are usually done after around 4 hours, the meat will shrink away from the bone and will be tender and easy to tear from the bone with your fingers.

I like to slice each rib individually and serve with chips and sometimes coleslaw.

Damn, I love ribs and preparing this post has my mouth watering for the next time I get to chow down!

pork spare ribs with fries

Pork Spare Ribs

From at

Prep: Cook: Total:

Pork spare ribs dry rubbed and smoked on a WSM mini smoker

You'll Need...

  • !Dry Rub
  • 1/4 Cup White sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbs Garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs Onion powder
  • 1 Tbs Mustard powder
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbs Horopito
  • 1 Tbs Ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs Ground coriander
  • !Mop Sauce
  • 2 tbps butter
  • 2/3 Cup apple juice
  • Splash of bourbon
  • !Ribs
  • Pork spare ribs


  1. Prepare smoker for indirect heat, 125°C / 250°F
  2. !Rib Rub
  3. Mix dry rub ingredients in a food processor.
  4. !Mop sauce
  5. Melt butter in apple juice over low heat and stir in bourbon, set aside in a small bowl.
  6. !Ribs
  7. Begin by removing the membrane on the bone side of the ribs and coating generously in rib rub.
  8. Add wood chunks to briquettes in smoker and add the ribs bone side down and close the lid. Smoke for 4 hours only lifting the lid to brush ribs with mop sauce.
  9. The ribs are done when they reach 87°C / 190°F - the meat will have shrunk back from the bone and meat is tender and easy to rip from the bone.
  10. Serve as full racks or slice individually.

How do you like your ribs? Let me know in the comments below.