St. Louis Spare Ribs with Blackberry Jalapeno BBQ Sauce

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Chris Lilly is a legendary pitmaster on the BBQ competition circuit. He has won the prestigious Memphis in May competition multiple times and travels around the country preaching barbeque gospel and cooking his famous long-and-slow pork shoulder and ribs. Lilly has developed many of his own signature rubs and sauces; in this recipe, he “fancifies” everyday spare ribs with a peppery blackberry glaze.


10 St. Louis spare ribs
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup paprika
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/3 cup garlic salt
1/3 cup onion salt
1/3 cup celery salt
1/3 cup cayenne pepper
1/3 cup ground cumin

Blackberry-Jalapeno Sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 1/2 tsp. reserved Dry Rub mix (from above)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. molasses, mild-flavored
1 tbsp. blackberry preserves
1/4 tsp. seeded and minced jalapeño pepper
1/8 tsp. hot chili sauce (sriracha)


  1. Skin back of ribs. In small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt, cayenne and cumin for Dry Rub. Liberally season both sides of ribs with rib rub.
  2. Prepare charcoal grill; bank hot coats on both sides of fire grate or to one side and heat to 250°F. (For gas grills, preheat and then turn off any burners directly below where the food will go.)
  3. Place ribs on grill grate, bone-side down. Cover grill.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare Blackberry-Jalapeno Sauce: Combine vinegars, Worcestershire sauce and reserved Dry Rub in small nonreactive saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; remove from heat.
  5. With wire whisk, stir in brown sugar, tomato paste, maple syrup, molasses, blackberry preserves, jalapeño and chili sauce until well combined.
  6. After 2 to 3 hr. of cooking, remove ribs from grill and brush with blackberry sauce.
  7. Place ribs back on grill; cook about 1 1/2 hr. longer or until meat is tender.
  8. Remove ribs from grill and brush again with blackberry sauce. Serve immediately.
Source: Chris Lilly and the National Pork Board

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