John Pleshette’s Spareribs

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I love getting recipes from actor and foodie John Pleshette. They’re always seasonal and delicious.

Screen shot 2010-08-31 at 2.58.38 PMSpareribs

1 full rack of St. Louis-style spareribs
Serves 4-6


2 Tablespoons salt
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons chili powder
4 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoons ground star anise or Chinese 5-spice powder

Grind the mixture together. Rub on the ribs and allow to sit for 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 225º

Wrap ribs in heavy-duty aluminum foil . Place, folded side up, on the center rack in the oven, over a roasting pan with a few inches of water.

Cook for about 3 hours, until the ribs are easily pierced with a sharp fork. Refill the pan with water as needed.

You can now refrigerate and finish the ribs later.

Barbeque sauce:
2 brown onions
1 28-oz can of tomato puree
1 cup of white vinegar
2 Tablespoons of dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon of smoked paprika
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons molasses
½ cup of orange juice
4 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
Juice from the ribs

Roughly chop onions.

Saute till lightly browned in vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook on a very low flame, partially covered for about an hour, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Allow to cool. Puree in a food processor.

Finish the ribs under the broiler or on an outdoor grill.

Unwrap the ribs over a bowl and reserve the juice.

Broiler method:

Set the rack in the center of the oven, about 8 inches from the flame. Lay ribs on a pan. As they start to cook, baste with barbeque sauce till they are mahogany brown.

Grill method:

Build a fire and when the coals are gray, push to one side. Place the ribs on the side away from the heat. Baste with sauce. Cover and cook till they are nice and brown.

Serve extra sauce on the side.

Cellarwise wine pairing

At first glance spareribs and bbq sauce may not seem all that wine friendly, but the bright flavors of a hand-made sauce make pairing much easier. This is the perfect time to open big reds that are equally bright and bold. California offers lots of options, one example being the ’06 stag’s leap winery petite sirah napa valley ($30) with its brambly boysenberry cobbler, tar, and black pepper. The languedoc region in the southwest france produces reds that are well-suited to this kind of dish, like the dark, wild, and gamey syrah flavors of the ’07 domaine des homs minervois ($14) or the spicy, feminine, minerally red fruits of the ’07 domaine mas de martin coteaux du languedoc “cuvee venus” ($14). Also from france’s south, the round raspberry tart flavors of the grenache-dominated ’08 tardieu-laurent cotes du rhone villages “les becs fins” ($20) show a more modern style that should suit the ribs famously. Enjoy.