BBQ Spice Rub

Everyone should have a decent barbecue spice rub in their arsenal. This one’s mine! It’s based loosely on this best odds pulled pork rub recipe but I’ve ramped up the heat with some excellent chipotle powder from the Cool Chile Company and bashed in some garlic powder for a bit more flavour. You can use it as a dry rub on anything you want to BBQ; pulled pork, ribs, chicken, whatever. You can also mix it with cider vinegar and water to make a simple (but great) BBQ sauce. As I live in a flat with no outdoor space, my outdoor cooking opportunities are severely limited. If you’re able to hot smoke food outdoors then you won’t need to add the hickory smoke powder, you can simply cook over wood instead. The smoke powder is a pretty good good substitute though, just be careful not to add too much as it can overpower things very quickly.



Jon’s BBQ Spice Rub

3 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp celery salt
1tbsp ground black pepper
1tsp cayenne
1tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chilli powder
1/4 tsp hickory smoke powder
1 1/2tsp garlic powder


Measure out your ingredients and mix thoroughly, that’s it. Dead simple. Done.

Make plenty, store it in a jar. Use it on all the meats, or as a seasoning on chips, wedges, tequila glasses, etc. I’ve been using it in and on everything recently from fancying up baked beans to rubbing into a spatchcocked chicken for that Nandos vibe. I’ll try and post some recipes using it soon.


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!