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Blue Ribbon Barbecue Spareribs

Cook Time:
4 hrs
Prep Time:
1 hr 5 mins

Chef notes

Kansas City is known for its meaty, tender ribs. This style of cook and flavor combination has won competitions for more than a decade!

Technique tip: After four hours of cooking, try lifting an end bone. If it wiggles without lifting the rest of the slab, you are ready to baste the rack with sauce. If it is not ready, seal back up and cook for another 10 minutes and check again.

Swap option: Use baby back ribs instead of spareribs.


  • 1 rack St. Louis-cut spareribs
  • 3 tablespoons barbecue rub
  • squeezable margarine, like Parkay
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, slice lengthwise in 3 pieces
  • 1/2 cup lemon-lime soda
  • 1 cup Kansas City-style barbecue sauce



Remove membrane off the bone side of the ribs and cut away any hanging meat.


Season both sides with barbecue rub and allow the meat to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.


Preheat oven or smoker to 275 F.

To cook in the oven: Place ribs bone-side down on a wire rack with a sheet pan under it and cover loosely with foil. Cook for 1 hour. Squirt margarine over rib meat and cook for 30 minutes.

To cook in a smoker: Place bone-side down and smoke for 1 hour. Squirt margarine over rib meat and smoke for 30 minutes.


Flip ribs over and squirt margarine across bones and cook or smoke for another 30 minutes.


Place 2 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil together on table and create a pile down the center of the foil in the following layer order: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tablespoon rub and a honey drizzle. Place ribs bone-side down on top of pile. Repeat the process on top of the rib bones in the following order: remaining brown sugar, rub and honey. Place the butter slices on top and fold foil tightly around ribs. Before you seal the end, pour soda into foil pouch and seal it up.


Place wrapped ribs back on smoker or oven and cook for about 2 hours.


Remove slab from foil pouch and baste with sauce. Serve immediately with the remaining sauce available for your guests to use, if desired.