Spare ribs? Not baby back ribs? Well, I’m partial to spare ribs because there is more fat which makes the meat beautifully moist. No reason why you can’t substitute baby back ribs if that is your preference.
Not a fan of ribs? You may choose a slab of bone-in pork belly although I would recommend that you cut off the rind. You may even go boneless although you will need to double the amount of seasonings. What I won’t recommend is substituting a lean boneless cut of meat.
This is a fairly easy dish to make. You take your rack of ribs, rub the Cajun spice mix on the entire surface and you leave the meat to marinate for at least two hours. That’s the minimum. You’ll get better results though if you marinate the ribs in the fridge overnight.
The cooking is done in two stages at different temperatures. During the first stage, the ribs cook in a foil tent at 300F. That’s the part when the meat becomes tender. And you do want the foil tent so that the meat cooks with plenty of moisture. That’s how it stays succulent.
But won’t the steam give the ribs a boiled meat texture? That’s why you need to cook it a second time. To give the ribs a light sticky crust, you discard the foil, brush the ribs with a glaze and return the rack in the oven where it cooks at 400F for another ten minutes.
Cajun Pork Spare Ribs
Cajun spice mix
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne powder - chili powder or flakes may be substituted
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 teaspoons sea salt - or 1 ½ teaspoons refined salt
- 1 rack pork spare ribs - about 2 kilograms total weight (see notes after the recipe)
- ¼ cup Cajun spice
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon lemon and pepper seasoning - available at the grocery
For the glaze
- 2 heaping tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons plain mustard
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- sliced chilies
- chopped parsley
- Make the Cajun spice mix by whisking together all the ingredients (see notes after the recipe).
- Wipe the rack of ribs with paper towels.
- Whisk together the Cajun spice mix, salt, tarragon, rosemary and lemon and pepper seasoning. Rub all over the ribs.
- Wrap the ribs with cling film and allow to marinate for at least two hours in the fridge (or overnight for best results).
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- Take the ribs out of the fridge. Discard the wrapping.
- Take a large piece of aluminum foil and place it on a baking tray. Lay the ribs on the foil. Take another large piece of foil and lay over the ribs. Gather together the sides of the top and bottom sheets of foil and crimp to seal in the ribs. Make sure that there are air pockets inside the package. You want steam to build up inside to help keep the meat moist.
- Cook the ribs in a 300F oven for two hours.
- Meanwhile, whisk together in the ingredients for the glaze.
- Take the ribs out of the oven.
- Turn up the temperature of the oven to 400F.
- Carefully unwrap the ribs (be careful of the steam that will escape!) and discard the top layer of foil.
- Brush the glaze all over the ribs.
- Put the ribs back into the oven and leave for 10 minutes or until the glaze turns into a light sticky crust.
- Take the ribs out of the oven. Rest for a few minutes. Cut between the bones. Plate up, sprinkle with sliced chilies and parsley, and serve.