Cook the Book: Fleisher's Spareribs

Cook the Book: Fleisher's Spareribs

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Saucy and drippy are usually the go-to descriptors for really great ribs but Joshua and Jessica Applestone, proprietors of Fleisher's Grass-Fed and Organic Meats and authors of The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meats, would like to introduce you to ribs of another sort. Their dry-rubbed Fleisher's Spareribs are all about a thick, crunchy spice rubbed crust that encases tender ribs filled rich fatty juices.

By coating a full rack of spareribs in a salt and brown sugar based spice rub, the ribs cook slowly, either in a low oven or on a charcoal grill, taking in all of the spices in the rub and crisping on the outside for a crackly, spicy crust that can (and probably should) be eaten like potato chips.

If you're are diehard barbecue sauce fan, the Applestones don't take offense to serving a bowlful on the side for dipping, but we're going to have to agree with them—these ribs don't need anymore than the rub.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meats to give away this week.

Reprinted with permission from The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meats by Joshua and Jessica Applestone and Alexandra Zissu, copyright © 2011. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

  • Yield:2
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:3 1/2 hours


  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds
  • 1 rack pork spareribs, poundage varies from pig to pig; Fleisher's tend to be around 3 pounds
  • Barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)


  1. 1.

    Make a spice rub by combining the salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, powdered mustard, cayenne, and celery seeds in a small bowl. This makes about 1 ½ cups. Coat the ribs with the rub evenly and thickly. Don’t be afraid of giving them a nice crust. Put the ribs in a container large enough to hold them, cover with foil or plastic wrap, transfer to the refrigerator, and let chill for 30 minutes to 12 hours. 

  2. 2.

    Fleisher's likes to use an indirect method of cooking for the ribs, either slowly in the oven at 250°F for 3 hours—or until the meat pulls easily off the bone, whichever comes first—or at about the same temperature and timing on a gas or charcoal grill. 

  3. 3.

    Cut the ribs apart and serve. Fleisher's doesn't feel these ribs need anything more, but you can always serve them with barbecue sauce for dipping.