BBQ style ribs with fennel, chilli and lime slaw


Mmm ribs. Everyone loves ribs. For me, it’s something about gnawing the tender, sticky, spicy meat off the bones, getting sauce all over my face and just generally making a delicious mess. I had some pork ribs left over from making Suffolk black bacon the other week and paired with some sticky sauce and a really fresh, sharp coleslaw, they made an astonishingly tasty and well balanced dinner.

BBQ Style Ribs
Ribs. About half a rack per person.
BBQ Rub. Enough to coat your ribs + more for dusting.

Sticky Rib Sauce
4tbsp ketchup
4tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp spice rub
1/2 cup water

Fennel, green chilli, and lime slaw
1/4 head red cabbage
1 small head fennel
1 large shallot
1 carrot
1/2 green chilli
1 bunch coriander
Juice of 1 lime
Glug of olive oil

First, prepare your ribs. Some people take a lot of time to trim off all the extraneous fat but I don’t bother, the one thing I do do is remove the thick layer of membrane from the bony side of the ribs. This allows all of the flavours of your spice rub to fully permeate the meat. To remove the membrane, take a small knife and work it under the membrane on one side of your ribs. Work the knife underneath until you can grab hold of the membrane and slowly pull it off. If you’re lucky, it’ll come off in one go. If not, simply stick the knife under and try again. I found this link useful here.

Take your ribs, rub them liberally with spice rub, and set aside. I ended up leaving these for 48 hours. Mainly because I was in the pub, but anything from a couple of hours is fine, you just want to leave it long enough for the meat to absorb some of the spices.


When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to about 170 degrees.

While the oven is heating up, combine the ingredients for the barbeque sauce in a small pan and gently heat through to melt the sugar in your spice rub. You’re going to want some of this to baste your ribs with as they cook and more to brush on before you serve.

Put the ribs on a baking tray and, when the oven is hot, chuck the ribs in.  Cook the ribs for 45 mins to an hour, basting frequently with your barbeque sauce in order to build up a nice, sticky sweet crust.


Whilst your ribs are cooking, you can turn your attention to the slaw. This really couldn’t be easier.  Simply take a mandolin or sharp knife and shred your cabbage, fennel and shallot into a bowl. Grate or julienne the carrot and chop the chilli (seeds in or out, your call) and coriander. Squeeze over the juice of a lime, pour in a good glug of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of sugar.  Mix thoroughly to combine and set aside until your ribs are cooked.



After about 45 minutes to an hour, your ribs should be nicely tender with a delicious sticky sauce clinging to them. Take them out of the oven, give them a final generous brush with sauce and maybe a little sprinkle of spice rub and serve immediately with the slaw. You might want a portion of fries or a jacket potato on the side and you’ll definitely want a big stack of napkins to mop your face with. Don’t be ashamed to make a mess as your tear and suck the tender spicy meat of the bones. Let your caveman side out!






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