St. Louis-Style Ribs

St. Louis-Style Ribs

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 2 slabs
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1184 Calories
89g Fat
39g Carbs
61g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1184
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 89g 114%
Saturated Fat 26g 132%
Cholesterol 298mg 99%
Sodium 1458mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 61g
Vitamin C 4mg 19%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 1100mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

St. Louis ribs create a tasty barbecue meal. They're easy to cook on a smoker or charcoal grill, though you'll need to be patient. The best ribs take several hours to cook, and this recipe shows the meaty ribs off in perfect style with a homemade rub and barbecue sauce. Meatier than baby back ribs, St. Louis-style pork ribs also have a good deal of fat, which adds to their irresistible flavor.

In this recipe, you'll use a few kitchen and spice cupboard staples to create the rub and sauce. The brown sugar-based rub is seasoned with paprika, onion, garlic, and dry mustard and covers the ribs before they hit the grill. While those cook, whip up the barbecue sauce. It's super-easy, and you'll love the savory taste of ketchup, mustard, garlic, onion, and Worcestershire sauce. Brown sugar gives it a sweet touch, apple cider vinegar adds a nice tang, and a hint of cayenne offers a perfect amount of spice.

The ribs should take between four and six hours to cook, and you should use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature. Once they reach 175 F, you'll slather them in the barbecue sauce then continue cooking. Pork ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender when they reach about 190 F. Serve them with your favorite barbecue sides like potato salad and grilled sweet corn, and enjoy your backyard dinner.


  • 2 slabs St. Louis-style pork ribs

For the Rub:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 3 tablespoons onion powder

  • 3 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 2 1/4 cups ketchup

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    St. Louis-Style Ribs and ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Prepare the smoker or charcoal grill. You will want to hold a temperature around 225 F for up to 4 hours (or even 6 hours, depending on temperature and the size of the ribs), so plan accordingly.

    Charcoal grill
     The Spruce
  3. Prepare the ribs by removing the membrane from the underside of the ribs, making sure to trim off any loose fat or meat.

    Ribs and seasonings
     The Spruce
  4. In a small bowl, combine the rib rub ingredients. Apply the rub to the front and back of the ribs.

    Rib rub seasoning
     The Spruce
  5. Place the ribs onto the smoker or grill. If grilling, grill indirectly.

    Ribs on a grill
     The Spruce
  6. While the ribs are cooking, place all of the sauce ingredients into a pan and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often.

    BBQ sauce simmering
     The Spruce
  7. Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool.

    BBQ sauce in a bowl
    The Spruce 
  8. Cook ribs until the internal temperature of the meat reaches about 175 F, then brush with barbecue sauce.

    Ribs cooking on a grill
    The Spruce 
  9. After about 10 minutes, turn the ribs over and brush with sauce continually during the cooking process.

    Ribs cooking on a grill
    The Spruce 
  10. Once ribs are cooked through, remove from heat and carve.

    Cut up ribs with BBQ sauce
     The Spruce
  11. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy.

    St. Louis-Style Ribs
    The Spruce 

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