Pork, Recipes

There are three reasons why pork spare ribs taste so great. First, their relatively high fat content bastes and favours the meat as it braais; secondly, the high bone-to-meat ratio means that the bones impart further favour to the meat as they heat up during the braai; thirdly, that sweet and sticky sauce we usually enjoy with them. 

But marinades and sauces that contain sugar burn easily, so there are two things that can go wrong when you braai spare ribs:

  • You remove them from the fre when you think the marinade is starting to burn, but then find the insides still raw.
  • You braai them until the inside is done, but by that stage the marinade is burnt.

There is a very easy way to get around these two problems, which is to braai first and marinade later. Don’t marinade or baste the ribs, just braai them and remove them from the fire about 5 minutes before they are ready. Generously smother them in the sauce, then return them to the fire and complete the braai. The ribs will be properly cooked inside and your sauce will be nicely glazed without being burn


  • 1.5 kg pork spare ribs
  • Jan Braai ribs and wings sauce


  1. Braai the whole spare ribs over medium heat for 30 minutes until almost done.
  2. Remove the ribs from the fre and place on a cutting board. Cut into single ribs.
  3. Place the sauce into a big bowl. Toss the ribs into the sauce bowl and coat them well. Use a spoon or shake the bowl around. Leave for a minute or 3 so that the exposed, meaty parts of the ribs can bond with and absorb the sauce.
  4. Braai the now generously basted ribs for between 2 and 10 minutes until all the sauce is warm and glazed. If during the cutting you saw that the ribs were basically done and will start to dry out, just braai them for a minute or 2 until the sauce is glazed, but if you saw they still had a way to go, make it closer to 10 minutes or even longer, also exposing the two recently cut sides of each rib to heat by letting them face the coals.


AND …I prefer to braai the ribs whole and only cut them before the basting. I feel those exposed parts of meat, where they were cut from each other, then just soak up the marinade a little bit better as they’re not sealed. You can also cut the ribs into single riblets or serve portions of 3 to 4 before the braai. Time spent on the coals will then be slightly shorter.