Auntie Jan's Saucy BBQ Ribs

There’s nothing like BBQ baby back ribs on a late summer evening, crowded around an outdoor dining table in the back garden. Auntie Jan gets a stream of requests from guests all summer long asking for these ribs and she kindly shared the recipe with us. These ribs are made tender by slow-cooking in the oven for several hours and then finishing them off on the BBQ with a homemade BBQ sauce. We love them accompanied by butter-shaken corn-on-the-cob, homemade potato salad (she has a delicious recipe for that too!) and fresh and zingy Fattoush salad. We think it makes the perfect summer BBQ menu, but be warned, it gets messy!

It can be tricky to find baby back ribs in the UK, which are not actually from a baby animal but rather a cut to leave a more generous amount of meat on the ribs. Any rack of pork ribs will do but the guys at Ginger Pig gave us another idea as a substitute—pork belly with the rib in. It worked beautifully. They trimmed away the first layer of fat and skin (and saved the skin for us to make crackling—extremely easy and a bit too delicious). To use pork belly instead of baby back ribs, we suggest using a 1.5kg piece and slow-cooking the belly for an extra 1.5 hours. Carve it up along each rib bone (make sure to ask the butcher to leave the rib on the belly) before basting and barbecuing and then follow the recipe as normal.


  • 3 baby back rib racks (approx.1.5kg)
  • 1 onion
  • salt, pepper and olive oil for seasoning
  • BBQ Sauce (see tips)

Serve with:

  • Buttery corn on the cob
  • Fattoush salad
  • Jacket potato with butter, sour cream and chives



  1. Preheat the oven to 130ºC. Chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add 250ml of water to the roasting dish.
  2. Rub the ribs with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper before setting them bone side down on top of the onions. Tightly cover the dish with foil.
  3. After 1 hour, turn the ribs over and baste with the juices. Cover and put back into the oven. Cook for 4 hours, turning every hour and keep covered.
  4. Pre-heat the BBQ to a medium temperature. Remove the ribs from the oven and baste generously with the BBQ sauce.
  5. Finish the ribs on the BBQ, cooking for about 20 minutes, whilst continuously basting with BBQ sauce and turning occasionally.

BK Tips

  • A customer suggested searing the ribs on the barbecue first before putting them in the roasting pan for a delicious smoky flavour (all other steps remain the same)
  • Auntie Jan uses a simple homemade BBQ sauce which is 300ml of ketchup, 3 tbsp of brown sugar (or honey), 60ml of sherry vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1/2 chopped onion. Simmer this for about 40 minutes and add in some of the juices from the roasting pan (about 150ml) . Serve the remaining sauce on the table
  • Try adding chilli sauce or a hot sauce (ie Tobasco) to spice up the ribs
  • If cooking on a charcoal barbecue, you may have to reduce the finishing time depending on how hot the barbecue is