paleo barbecue pork ribs with sauceEver since the paleo diet unshackled me from the fear of eating animal fat I have been on a mission to indulge in foods previously avoided. Barbecued pork ribs is one of those foods. My goal with this recipe was to create something delicious that would be paleo, which means, among other things, having very little or no sugar. It was also important the dry-rubbed ribs be good enough to be eaten without sauce.  Of course, barbecue sauce is pretty indispensable in the minds of most people and my family is no exception.  So I have also included a spicy barbecue sauce recipe that contains no high fructose corn syrup and only 2 tablespoons of sweetener.  The dry rub recipe contains coconut crystals which is a low-glycemic natural sweetener that adds some sweetness and caramelizes when the ribs are grilled.  You can either leave this ingredient out entirely or replace it with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar if you like.

Dry Rub

  • 1/4 cup coconut crystals -optionalpaleo dry rub for barbecue
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dry basil (crushed)
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Ribspaleo barbecue pork ribs

3 full racks of baby back ribs (a.k.a. back ribs, baby backs, loin back ribs, loin ribs, Canadian back ribs).

Each rack is usually 2-3 pounds, about half of which is bone.  I bought a three-pack from Costco which was 9 lbs for $3.99/lb. The bone side has a membrane covering it called the pleura. This membrane should be removed before applying the dry rub because it can be leathery and almost unchewable when cooked and prevents flavors from penetrating. Fortunately for me, the ribs from Costco already had the membrane removed.

Instructions for ribsdry rubbed baby back ribs paleo

Rinse the ribs and then pat them dry with paper towels. Place the ribs on large pieces of foil on shallow baking pans. Apply the dry rub evenly on both sides of the ribs. Wrap the ribs in the foil, making sure you have a good seal to keep in the juices.  foil wrapped bbq paleo ribsIdeally you should allow them to marinate for 30 minutes or more before cooking but this step is optional if you don’t have the time.

Cook the ribs at 200 degrees F for 4 hours.  If you have the time, you can turn off the oven and let the ribs “rest” inside for 30 minutes.  Preheat a gas grill for about 10 minutes and unwrap the ribs and pour off the cooking juices into a container for use in the barbecue sauce.  Place the ribs on the grill, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes with the lid closed.

paleo pork ribs on the grillTurn the ribs over and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cover with foil to rest for 15 minutes or until you are ready to serve.paleo dry rubbed pork ribs

Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups of cooking juices from the ribs (or beef stock)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely diced
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions for barbecue sauce

While the ribs are cooking on the grill, combine drippings (or stock) and the diced garlic and simmer in a medium sauce pan for 5 minutes.  Whisk in remaining ingredients and simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or more if you like a thicker sauce.paleo barbecue sauce

Slow cooking resulted in extremely tender pork ribs that pulled right off the bone but were not overcooked to the point of falling apart.  In my humble opinion, the mark of truly good ribs is when they are tasty enough to be eaten without adding barbecue sauce and I honestly believe this recipe hits that high mark.  I served the ribs along with some brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and TOLERATION gluten free ale.  These dry rubbed paleo pork ribs would also be good served with a paleo coleslaw or collard greens and/or cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower.
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