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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

West Indian inspired dry rub for BBQ beef back ribs

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Today we are going to take a look at a West Indian inspired dry rub for beef back ribs on the charcoal BBQ.

Beef back ribs need to cook a long time on the BBQ both to get that terrific smokey flavour as well as to make the meat tender. Dry rubs are ideal for long, indirect cooking. If you have never done indirect charcoal BBQing it simply means that you bunch your charcoal towards the sides of your barbecue leaving a fairly large space in the middle without any hot charcoal.

Before anything else you need to prepare the rub.


1/2 cup jerk seasoning

1/2 cup Jamaican curry powder (or any curry powder)

2 tablespoons mustard powder

2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons garlic salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 tablespoon hot chili powder (or to taste depending on how much heat you want)

Blend all these ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl.

Before applying the rub make sure that the membrane on the underside of your ribs has been removed. If you can ask for it to be removed when ordering the ribs. If the membrane is still there it is relatively easy to cut into the membrane with a sharp knife and pull it away.

Then apply some rub to the underside and apply the rub very liberally to the top side.

The dry rub portions are for 2 or 3 racks of ribs but if you have leftover rub just put it in a baggy or spice jar. It will keep for quite some time just like any other spices or spice blend.

Once you have applied the rub let the ribs sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour while you prepare the charcoal, etc.

After you have set up the charcoal place the ribs underside down on the grill over the indirect part of the BBQ so that it is not directly over any charcoal.

You now want to cook the ribs without turning for 2 1/2 hours using the BBQ lid to regulate the heat and make the ribs smoky. I generally cook for 10-15 minutes lid down flue open, then 5 lid off repeating this for the 2 1/2 hours. This should allow the charcoal to stay at a nice heat level without getting too hot or going out.

In the photo you can see a single rack down the middle and not over the hot charcoal. I am also grilling some seasoned cauliflower directly over the coals (you BBQ cauliflower tossed in olive oil and seasonings for a few minutes, turning regularly, until charred to your liking).

After 2 1/2 hours flip the ribs so that the meaty side is down and BBQ for another 30 minutes. Regulate the heat and charcoal using the lid as before.

When they are done let them rest a few minutes and then you can pull them apart (or use a knife, but they will pull apart easily) and enjoy individual ribs with all the things you like ribs with. BBQ sauce on the side, beer and good company come to mind. They are also nice with chopped green onion, roasted sesame seeds or hot pepper flakes sprinkled over top.

Of course, you can use the spice rib and BBQ the ribs using any method of your choosing. This is how I do them and I find it works well.




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