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How to Make Kansas City Style BBQ Ribs in the Summer

Nothing impresses a summer crowd more than slabs of sticky, smoky, and spicy Kansas City style BBQ ribs. Make your own this summer with this great recipe, complete with a backup plan should something go awry. See our home page for more information. 

Dry Rub Ingredients

One of the main components of Kansas City BBQ is a dry rub that mixes sweet with heat:

• 2 tablespoons celery salt

• 2 tablespoons kosher salt

• 2 tablespoons white sugar

• 1 tablespoons chili powder

• 1 tablespoons granulated garlic

• 1 tablespoons granulated onion

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 teaspoon white pepper

• 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

• 1/4 cup paprika

Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

Sticky and sweet with just enough heat, the ingredients in this barbecue sauce help to reinforce the flavors of the dry rub while keeping your ribs tender, moist, and flavorful:

• 3 cloves minced garlic

• 2 cups ketchup

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 2 tablespoons yellow mustard

• 1 tablespoon chili powder

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1 finely chopped small yellow onion

• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

• 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

• 1/3 cup molasses

Ribs and Grill Ingredients

Picking the right type of ribs and smoking wood is essential to the Kansas City BBQ style:

• 2 slabs of spare ribs (3 pounds each)

• 3 to 6 softball-sized chunks of oak or hickory

Preparing the Ribs (6 to 12 hours)

1. Place dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and mix so there’s an even consistency. Set aside, but keep close by.

2. Take the ribs out of their packaging. With a paper towel, remove the membrane from the back of the rack of ribs. If necessary, trim the ribs of any excess fat.

3. Rub that rub! Each slab should have a generous amount of rub massaged into it.

4. Wrap ribs in foil and place them in a large container to store overnight in the fridge.

Preparing the Barbecue Sauce (About 1 hour)

This barbecue sauce can be made before placing the ribs on the grill or while the ribs are cooking. When stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator, the sauce will stay good for about a month.

1. Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and let it melt.

2. Add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Garlic should be fragrant before moving on to the next step.

4. Add the rest of the barbecue sauce ingredients and stir. Allow the sauce to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low until the sauce is slowly simmering. Make sure to stir frequently, scraping any bits stuck to the bottom or side of the pan. Cook until the sauce is thick (think typical barbecue sauce) or for about 30 minutes.

5. Carefully transfer the sauce to a blender and pulse until the sauce has a smooth consistency. Let the sauce come down to room temperature and then transfer to a jar or airtight container.

Cooking the Ribs

Now the easy part – cooking the ribs!

1. Remove ribs from refrigerator

2. Heat grill to around 225 degrees.

3. Add wood chunks to the grill.

4. When the wood is producing smoke, place the ribs on the grill with the meat side up.

5. Grill for about five to six hours. The ribs should curve slightly when picked up by one end.

6. During the final 30 minutes of cooking, mop barbecue sauce onto the top of each slab at least once.

Backup Plans

If something goes awry, it’s always essential to have a backup plan. So if you’re still unsure how to make ribs, you always have another option: bring your friends and family to Q39 for authentic, Kansas City style BBQ ribs! If DIY is a fail or you want inspiration for best BBQ ribs in Kansas City, Q39is the perfect place to get your ribs fix. See also how to make the best Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce Recipes too! You can also purchase some Q39 Zesty BBQ sauce online.