Dry Rub Pork Spare Ribs

We don’t have a grill.   No joke, seriously, every grill we have ever owned has turned into a rust pit after winter so when it comes to whipping up a rack of dry rub pork spare ribs, I have to turn to the oven.
I have two dietary issues to deal with also.  Mr. Bejelly does not do well with cooked tomato products and he will have a bought of heartburn if he eats them.  We also are really trying to phase out all sugar in our diet as this  helps reduce and often eliminate any bouts of heartburn.   I have yet to find a barbecue sauce that is tomato free and sugar-free so I invented the following dry rub.
I did swab it down in my Peach BBQ Sauce  so be sure to check it out.

4.4 from 10 reviews
Dry Rub Pork Spare Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix with a spoon until well blended.
  3. Lightly apply this rub to both sides of your rack until it is well coated. There will be some rub left over which I typically don't apply to the ribs. You can if you would like but it is a strong flavor.
  4. Next take two sheets of aluminum foil (put meat against the dull side) and sandwich the ribs Place them in your oven to bake for 3 – 3.25 hours.
  5. The meat should be falling off the bone by the time they are done. You can apply your favorite barbecue sauce on them but we love them as is

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  1. Don in Arkansas says

    Looks great but I wouldn’t mess it up at the end by putting sauce on it. I’m more of a meat, dry rub, heat/smoke, done kind of rib guy. I usually sear mine on the grill & then smoke for an hour or so and then finish in the oven for a couple of more hours but when its as hot as it is here right now (100+) I probably won’t use the oven at all. The cocoa sounds like a nice touch. A couple of tbs of instant coffee works too.

  2. Wenchypoo says

    Here I come to save your day…sort of: NoMato products http://www.nomato.com/

    They have a ketchup, a “tomato” sauce, and a BBQ sauce with no tomato in them. I too am allergic to tomatoes, and this is what I use myself.

  3. Shary says

    I’ve been making my own version of this recipe for years. However, I use a black enamel roasting pan (the kind that comes with most ovens). I line the pan with heavy-duty foil for easy cleanup, then flop in a rack of ribs and season as desired. You can also add onions, quartered turnips, carrots, asparagus, parsnips, etc. for a complete meal. Add about 3/4’s cup of water to the pan and cover tightly with another sheet of foil. Bake at 325 degrees for about 3-1/2 hours, or until meat is fork tender and falling off the bones. Uncover and bake at 375 degrees for another 15 minutes to brown the meat.

    We think ribs fixed this way are much better than grilled. Another advantage: If you have to be gone for a while, this dish can be prepared a few hours in advance with the oven set on Delayed Start.

  4. Cap'n Salty says

    I tried these for the family Sunday dinner. There were ‘yumm’ noises around the room and very little conversation during the meal. We will be making them again, thank you so much for this different-from-our-usual take on ribs. PS..I live with a bunch that would have been disappointed if I hadn’t done this, so, with all due respect to your recipe we did add an ingredient: smoked paprika, about 1 teaspoon.

  5. George Mendez says

    Sorry, but this recipe has too much cacao for me and my wife; it overpowered all the other flavors. I’ll try a variation with 1 tsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder next time.

  6. Dave says

    If you do happen to have a grill, I would lightly rub ribs in olive oil, apply the rub liberally, and let sit over night. Add charcoal to the grill and light according to directions… while the coals are getting hot, place the grate for the grill on the rack so it is very hot. Place the ribs on the rack and let the ribs brown on both sides….. then slow coke them for 3-4 hours at 275F. This gives the ribs that charcoal smokey taste and flavor with the convenience of oven baking. :) I use the mesquite coals since they will have a nice smokier scent.

    • Kelly Bejelly says

      Thank you so much Neal! I really appreciate the feedback. You’re either eating a mess of ribs every week or have been using it on other dishes. I’d love to hear more.

  7. Wm. Tillis says

    The rib recipe sounds good. I usually use country style ribs as they are meatier and cheaper. I will comment on the results.
    I have had the heartburn problem with coffee and sometimes tomatoes. I put a small amount of baking soda in the pot of coffee and that works. Since I have gone grain free and added probiotics to my diet , I no longer have the problem with tomatoes.

  8. says

    Mine are in the oven now….I’ve never ever made ribs before, but was happy to see this sugar-less, grill-less recipe. I have some sugar less BBQ sauce I made, so I may use a bit of that towards the end, but I think I prefer a drier rib to a sloppy saucy one. Thanks! ~Missy

  9. Lori says

    Tried these Saturday on some baby-backs. Did one rack using this cacao-based recipe, and another rack with a rub based on Coconut palm sugar and chili powder. Both were dry-rubbed, sat for two hours then smoked for 4 hours. All tasters liked this one best. It has a nice, rich taste that melds with the smoked pork beautifully without being overwhelming. Did NOT slather with sauce to eat, but I’m sure it would have been tasty that way too. I think I used a half-teaspoon of cayenne- it could have used a little more. Thanks Chica! Great post.


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