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Pork Ribs Pampanella

Cook Time:
3 hrs
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Smoked or grilled pork with a sweet and spicy sauce is one of my favorite things to eat. This dish hits all of it! This recipe is also special because "pampanella" refers to a classic street food from Molise, Italy, where my family is from.

Technique tip: Wrap ribs in foil while cooking so they retain their juices.

Swap option: This recipe works great for pork shoulder, too.


  • 2 tablespoons fennel pollen (or ground fennel seeds)
  • 4 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 4 ounces honey
  • 2 tablespoons Calabrian chili peppers
Yogurt Slaw
  • 1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled red onion, with juices
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


For the ribs:


Preheat smoker, oven or grill to 300 F.


Mix fennel pollen, paprika, salt, mustard powder, dry oregano and sugar in a bowl.


Rub the spice mixture all over the ribs.


Grill or smoke the ribs for 1½ hours, moving frequently if on the grill to avoid burning.


Wrap the ribs nice and tight in foil and then place on grill, or in the oven, for an additional 1½ hours, or until tender.


While ribs are cooking, mix the honey and the Calabrian chili peppers in a small pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

For the yogurt slaw:

Mix all ingredients in bowl until well-combined.

To serve:

Once cooked, drizzle the ribs with the honey-chili mixture, top with yogurt slaw and serve.