Spice-Rubbed Ribs with Citrus Barbecue Sauce

by Michael on February 26, 2014 · 15 comments

Winter has been as unpleasant and relentless as any in recent memory. Weeks go by before there is any break in conditions. The one constant this season has been the speed at which the weather changes. The sun breaks through in the morning and with unseasonably warm temperatures and brings with it the promise of a better day. But within hours the wind hustles and pushes in and the snow begins to fall with regularity. For the first time in years, I can hear a chorus of people calling for mercy. Wishing for the end to come.

Spice-Rubbed Citrus Barbecue Ribs 1

Although the snow outside is as deep as it’s been all winter, with snow pilled up a good four feet at the edges of the property, there have been small, noticeable changes of late that bring with it promise that the end is near. With each passing day, daylight lingers longer. In the middle of the day you can begin to feel the sun on your face, even if for a minute. And with March around the corner, the signs should only get stronger.

At the beginning of winter, when the temperature dips and the snow falls, I long for comfort food. Foods that are rich, slightly heavy and comforting. But as the season drags on I begin making foods that remind me of summer. Favourites from the grill but cooked inside and low and slow in the oven. The kind of food that acts as comfort food but has me reminiscing for warmer days and backyard get-togethers. Soon enough.

Spice-Rubbed Citrus Barbecue Ribs 2

 Citrus Barbecue Sauce

It’s around this time of year when I begin craving for burgers and ribs. Unlike other Canadians, I don’t spend my nights on my back deck grilling in the middle of winter. I wrap up the grill every October and open it back up in May. And right about now, when the short days and cold nights start to sing the same song everyday, I need reminders of what’s to come. Ribs and slaw and cold beer.

I tend to look for sweetness and spice with my barbecue ribs so I went down that path for this version. A good bark with a kick and a good citrus, flavourful sauce to slather it in. A balance that ties it all together.

Spice-Rubbed Citrus Barbecue Ribs 3

March is just around the corner. And it won’t be long before daylights savings kicks in and the days seem longer. Hold out hope. But until that day comes, rely on favourites to help you remember. For me, it’s these ribs.

Spice-Rubbed Citrus Barbecue Ribs 4

Spice-Rubbed Citrus Barbecue Ribs 5


From my kitchen to yours,



Spice-Rubbed Pork Ribs


  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper


  1. Remove the membrane (silverskin) from the bottom side of each of the racks of ribs. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix to incorporate. Place both racks in a large roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.  Massage the dry ingredients over both sides of the racks. Let rest at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250F degrees. Transfer the ribs to the oven and cook for 2.5 hours. Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler. Brush the ribs with half of the sauce (reserve the rest) and broil for about 5 minutes, or until the top starts to char.
  3. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Brush with the remaining sauce and serve.
  4.  Serves 4-6.


Citrus Barbecue Sauce


  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • good pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Using a blender, purée the scallions and garlic with half the orange juice until smooth. In a mediums saucepan, combine the other half of the orange juice, orange zest, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seed, honey, salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the contents from the blender and bring to a boil and cook for roughly 10 minutes, reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Let cool.

Leave a Comment

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Maura - YLT February 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

Wow, these look so sticky. Love you photos :)


sandra February 27, 2014 at 11:58 am

These look so finger licking good. I just love ribs but have not attempted them myself… some day.


Clever Hen February 28, 2014 at 10:01 am

These look finger-licking good! Can’t wait to try it!


sippitysup March 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm

I’d tell you about winter in Los Angeles, but you might not want to hear about it. Still, we long for comfort too. Especially this kind. GREG


china March 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Would this sauce work on chicken?


Michael March 16, 2014 at 7:09 pm

I think it would work brilliantly!


Shari @ Simply Shari's Gluten Free March 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm

The barbecue sauce recipe sounds amazing. Looking forward to giving it a try. Thank you.


Wendy March 20, 2014 at 11:01 am

your photographs are lovely!


Sher March 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm

these look finger licking good. i wouldn’t usually think of ribs as spring time food but from the weather we’ve been having lately, this would make a great meal!



Christina April 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm

I’ve been looking for a good rib recipe for a while. Love the combo of spice with citrus here… awesome!


sue/the view from great island May 31, 2014 at 11:32 pm

That does it…I’ve never made ribs, and I NEED to make these ribs!


Marj June 29, 2014 at 10:49 am

Your photography is amazing. Love your recipes.


Michael July 13, 2014 at 11:09 pm

thanks Marj! I really appreciate that.


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