Smoky Oven-Roasted Spareribs Recipe | Cook the Book

Caroline Russock

As one might expect, in a book called Pig: King of the Southern Table there's a lot of talk about barbecue. But for those of us who live outside the realm of real barbecue, and might not even have the luxury of an outdoor space to grill James Villas has kindly shared this recipe for Smoky Oven-Roasted Spareribs.

Yes, they are oven roasted, and no, they are not real barbecue but, for coming out of a conventional oven these ribs are pretty spectacular. The secret, aside for a low and slow roast is (gasp) the addition of just a little tiny bit of liquid smoke. The smoke, when paired with the char that the ribs develop in the oven, gives them a quality that just might make you think for a second that they were cooked outdoors over real wood.

The sweet and spicy sauce permeates the meat, and by the time your ribs are done they're flavored through and through, nicely tender while still retaining a bit of chew. Make no mistake, these ribs are far from the real thing but, for a home kitchen, not too shabby.

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Recipe Facts



Total: 0 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 to 6 pounds spareribs, cut in half


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the ribs, bring almost to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and stir till the sugar dissolves and the sauce is smooth. Simmer for about 10 minutes longer, and set aside.

  3. Position the spareribs in a large, shallow roasting pan, baste well with the sauce, and roast, uncovered, till very tender, about 2 hours, basting the ribs with the sauce every 30 minutes.

  4. To serve, cut the ribs into serving portions, heat the remaining sauce, and serve it on the side.