The Pink Flamingo barbecue

Good side Dishes for BBQ ribs


I just answered almost the same question but about pulled pork. I'll repeat myself here, with the caveat that you may not want a rub for the spareribs, though I use one. Sometimes. Sometimes I marinate the ribs for a day or two with some of the sauce, which includes the spices for the rubs, discard the liquid left over and place the ribs in the oven. The recipes are often the same that I use for pulled pork but I've adjusted for ribs.

Ribs are easy to make. Use a rub or sauce to marinade (at least 24 hours), place them in a foil covered baking pan on a rack so they don't touch the bottom, cover and cook at 375°F for about 2 hours. Remove the foil cover and lather that sauce generously over the ribs. Raise the grate to the highest slot and broil them until they get slaughter burnt. You want that char but you don't want it dried out. Usually about 8-10 minutes will work.

Now sides will depend upon the flavors you bring to the ribs while cooking. I just love it, so easy to make in my crockpot. Anyway...

Assuming St. Louis style spareribs, if you go American BBQ, make a rub of chili powder, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard powder, dark mustard, salt and pepper. I then make my own ketchup and soy based BBQ sauce to toss the pork with or, if lazy, jazz up a favorite bottles sauce. My favorite sides are cole slaw, potato salad and corn on the cob. Of course different areas of the country have their own idea of what a rub and sauce should be. Some swear by adding sugar, some don't. Some think you have to add vinegar, and some don't. It's a big country. This is just my favorite. The family loves it as long as I add an extra kick with some cayenne for my sister-in-law.

If I go Asian, I make a paste rub of brown sugar, chili, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, fish and/or oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Messy, but finger lickin good. I also make my own Asian BBQ sauce using that same ketchup and soy sauce base with much of the same additions as in the Asian paste. I do tend to add rice wine vinegar, maple syrup and sweet soy to the sauce. You've got to taste often when making your own sauce. Just takes a little more tweaking to get the flavors balanced right. Gotta have sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami to get it right. And don't forget to add the juices from the ribs. Lots of umami in there. I serve these with fried rice and steamed frozen oriental veggies.

Make it Greek ribs by making a Greek spice rub. Mix salt, garlic powder, basil, oregano, cinnamon, black pepper, parsley, rosemary, dill, sweet paprika, marjoram, cornstarch, thyme, and nutmeg in a bowl. Store in an airtight container. Alternately, blend spices in a spice grinder for a finer texture. Add a little lemon juice to make it into a paste and cover those ribs. Make a Greek BBQ sauce using fresh or canned tomatoes, lemons, and the same spices in the rub. For ribs, you'll need to add a thickener to the sauce or let reduce until it's half the volume and thicker, I serve that with tsaziki and sometimes forego the BBQ sauce and just toss the ribs in it to coat. Make a side of goat cheese salad with baby greens, strawberries or orange pieces and pine nuts. Don't forget the wine.

Try turning to South of the Border by making an Adobo rub with ancho chilis, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cumin, salt and black pepper. Use a bottled spicey salsa or make your own, either of which you should blend for smoothness and add some brown sugar to thicken it up and help with caramelizing the ribs under the broiler. Serve tortillas with sour cream, guacamole and some queso fresco. Make a side of corn salsa and you can't go wrong.

Lastly, cross the Atlantic to the source of most of these spices and go Indian, with a rub of curry, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and make a mango BBQ sauce to go with it. Serve with naan, cucumber raita and carrot rice

Really, you can make ribs with so many cuisine variations and flavorsthat sides will almost announce themselves. I found many BBQ sauces and marinades for around the world to inspire me at



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