YIELDS: 4 Servings PREP TIME: 10 mins COOK TIME: 4 hrs TOTAL TIME: 4 hrs 10 mins

Have you always wondered what the difference is between spare ribs and baby back ribs? Big Jim with Big Jim's Barbecue breaks it down for us and gives us some pointers on the best way to prepare the two.


Spare ribs or baby back ribs
Dry rub of your choice
Brown sugar
Your favorite BBQ sauce

Instant read thermometer
Cutting board 


  1. When smoking or grilling baby back ribs, you want to leave the membrane (the white layer on the underside of the ribs) intact. This helps to hold the ribs together.
  2. With the spare ribs, we want to remove the membrane. Do this by making a little cut between the membrane and the meat on the first rib. Grab a hold of the membrane, give the ribs a shake, then, with one hand on the membrane and one on the ribs, rip the membrane off.
  3. For seasoning, Big Jim recommends using your favorite rub. (Homemade or store-bought - it's up to you!) Or try layering several different rubs for some real depth in flavor.
  4. Generously cover both sides of the ribs with the rub(s) and pat it into the meat.
  5. Add a handful of brown sugar over the rub and pat into the meat. This will create a nice glaze over the ribs.
  6. After seasoning, allow the ribs to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  7. Smoke at 225-250°F for about 4 hours.
  8. For the baby back ribs, we're looking for an internal temperature of about 205°F - they should be tender, fall of the bone.
  9. For the spare ribs, we're looking for an internal temperature of 195°F - they should be soft on the inside and chewy on the outside.
  10. Finish the ribs by brushing them with your favorite BBQ sauce.
  11. Separate them by cutting right in between the bones.
  12. Serve with plenty of wet naps!