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Dry-Rub Barbecue Side Ribs

I like to make ribs in two styles when cooking for a crowd – some people like dry-rubbed ribs (my choice), and wider bones offer lots of real estate for the rub (and take a little longer to cook). Back ribs are a bit meatier, so I find they suit the gooey stickiness of a finger-licking BBQ sauce. On this episode, I multiplied the recipe by 4 to cover double batches of the side ribs and back ribs (to feed 20 people).

Makes 2 full racks.


  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) cumin seed

  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) coriander seed

  • 1/2 stick cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) paprika (hot , sweet or smoked)

  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) salt

  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 x racks 2 full racks pork side ribs (about 6 lbs/2.5 kg)


  • 1.

    Preheat one side of grill on medium (or if oven-roasting, preheat oven to 325 F 160 C).

  • 2.

    In small pan, toast cumin and coriander seeds over medium heat until a fragrance is emitted, about 3 minutes. Grind cumin, coriander and cinnamon stick in a spice mill until fine. Combine all spices together.

  • 3.

    To prepare ribs, pull away membrane on underside of racks (this can be initially loosened with a fork, then pulled holding it with a paper towel if slippery). Rub spice rub over top and underside of ribs, rubbing in well with hands.

  • 4.

    Place ribs on side of grill without direct heat and cover (the convection current will cook the ribs, but they will not scorch, as they are not in contact with direct heat). Cook for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, until tender when pierced with a fork. If oven-roasting, place ribs on a foil-lined baking tray and bake for about 2 hours.

  • 5.

    Slice ribs and place on a platter to serve.

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