RECIPE: Virginian Pork Ribs

This tried and tested recipe was kindly shared to us by Steph from Virginia.  We met when I visited her parents home to assist with their AGA stove and to work as a ‘guest chef’ for a charity gala event.  The following year, Steph kindly made the return visit to Dorset, to spend time in our cookery school kitchen.  

In recognition of USA Independence Day, we’re sharing Steph’s method once more. 

This method is perfect for the BBQ, but takes a little planning ahead.  Preparation is easy and the results are deliciously tender. 

Apply the dry rub and then the ribs cook long and slow all day (or overnight in the AGA). 

Either finish in a hot oven or over coals.

Serves 4


Prepare – Dry rub 10 mins Barbecue sauce – 10 mins 

Cook 8 hours plus chargrilling

Total 30 mins + overnight

recipe barbecue ribs american style


  • 1.2kg (2lb 3oz) rack of pork loin ribs, skin removed and fat trimmed but kept whole.

    Thick foil and baking parchment.

    For the rub:

    2 ½ tablespoons sea salt

    1 tablespoon mustard seeds 

    1 tablespoon paprika

    ½ teaspoon ground black pepper​

  • For the barbecue sauce:

    170 g (6 oz) tomato ketchup

    50 g (2 oz) soft brown sugar

    3 garlic cloves finely crushed or to taste

    3 tablespoons cider vinegar

    3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

    1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika

    ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

    ¼ teaspoon celery salt

    11 ml (4 floz) water



Pre-heat a conventional oven to 18O C or Gas Mark 4.

Make the rub by grinding dry ingredients together in a pestle and mortar.

Pat any excess moisture from ribs with kitchen towel then rub spice mix evenly all over meat.

Place ribs on to a sheet of baking parchment and then wrap tightly in foil. Place in a roasting tin and cook in AGA roasting oven or preheated conventional oven for 20-30 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 120 C or Gas Mark 1 or transfer to AGA simmering oven for eight hours (or overnight).

Make barbecue sauce:

Meanwhile prepare barbecue sauce by mixing ingredients together in a saucepan, place on boiling plate or over conventional high heat and stir.

Continue stirring until sugar is dissolved and then reduce sauce by a third. Once it is a coating consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool.

To finish cooking:

Remove the ribs from oven.  Strain and reserve the juices.*

Ensure barbecue is lit and coals are hot or increase temperature in conventional oven to

200 C or Gas Mark 7

Slide grid shelf to highest runner in AGA roasting oven.

Cut along each rib and place these in a baking tray lined with parchment.  

In a separate bowl, mix at least 6 tablespoons of barbecue sauce with 2 tablespoons of reserved cooking juices.   Taste for seasoning and brush liberally on to ribs.  Cook in a hot oven or over coals until the ribs are piping hot, slightly charred and crispy.

Cooks Tip

*If using barbecue, continue to baste ribs with sauce and juice mixture whilst cooking on grill.  Discard any left over.

Pour any original barbecue sauce that doesn’t include meat juices, into a sterilised jar to store fridge and keep for up to one week. Use as a dip, marinate chicken wings or serve with burgers.

Pork ribs are a typical dish served in Virginia for Independence Day.  Serve with potato salad, coleslaw and plenty of bread to mop up the juices.

 Get ahead …

*Cool pork rib at this stage and then store in fridge up to three days.  Ensure that meat is piping hot when you reheat in oven or finish on barbecue.

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