Kinda Sweet Pork Ribs

Next to the almighty brisket you'll find pork ribs at the top of the menu at most barbecue restaurants. They're smoky, sticky, sweet and what's more there's no cutlery required. There are three main cuts of pork ribs being spare ribs, baby backs and the St. louis cut. They all vary in shape and length but similar principles apply when cooking them.

One trick to tasty pork ribs is knowing when to pull them off the grill. The meat shouldn't fall off the bone, it should pull away from the bone with some resistance when you bite. Unfortunately with pork rib meat being thin a digital thermometer won't necessarily give you an accurate reading so you have to rely more on feel. It's something that takes a bit of practice but keep at it, the results are worth it not only for ribs but for all the low and slow cuts.

If you can manage to take an accurate reading ribs are usually done in the 200f/93c to 205f/96c range. One popular method for checking if ribs are done is 'the bend test' which involves lifting up one end of the rack with a pair of tongs. If the surface of the rack cracks substantially you're done.

One other trick to pork ribs is whether to wrap them and when. A popular method, particularly in the US, is the 3-2-1 method. The theory being to cook the ribs for 3 hours, wrap for 2 with sauce, butter and sugar then unwrap and cook for a further hour. Here in Australia our ribs aren't as thick so cooking pork ribs for 6 hours will over do them. 

I prefer to cook them straight through, adding a light basting of a BBQ sauce and honey mix about an hour before taking off the grill so it has a chance to glaze up. I don't see a great benefit in the wrapping method when cooking at home, competition BBQ is a little different. By all means try both the unwrapped and wrapped methods to see what works best for you.


  • 2 racks of pork ribs
  • Lane's BBQ Signature Rub
  • Lane's BBQ Kinda Sweet Sauce
  • Honey
  • Napkins


  1. Remove the silvery membrane off the underside of the ribs. This won't breakdown during cooking and will become tough and chewy.
  2. Fire up your smoker and aim for an ambient temperature between 250f/120c to 275f/135c.
  3. Lightly brush the ribs with mayo or mustard and season with the Signature Rub.
  4. Put the racks in the smoker along with a couple of chunks of your chosen wood if cooking with charcoal.
  5. Cook until a nice bark appears with a dark red brown colouration, 2 to 3 hours. Baste the ribs with a mix of Kinda Sweet and honey (3:1 ratio).
  6. Cook until done and serve with plenty of napkins!

Recipe and photos by Messy Benches. Visit