Monday, 25 May 2015

Rockin' Rum Ribs for National BBQ Week

Barbecues and Bank Holidays go hand in hand... Lovely. Add in booze and the fact it's National BBQ Week? Perfect!

To kick things off I've got a meatilicious recipe for you, one which includes two of the best barbecue staples; ribs and rum! Sticky, spicy and smoky, what more could you ask for?

These Rockin' Rum Ribs are a nod to that King of The Grill, DJ BBQ, Christian Stevenson's recipe, in which he marinates the meat in a flavour-packed paste, and then glazes it with a rum fuelled sauce towards the end of cooking. He has a pretty special way of BBQing - low and slow - so that the meat literally falls off the bone; however, if you live in a flat and don't have the privilege of a garden or barbecue like me, then you can just do this in an oven. (Not quite the same, but it'll do!)

Instead of going down the Asian spice route, I've ventured to the Middle East for my marinade, using fiery harissa paste, deep treacle like date syrup, and earthy smoked paprika. In making sure that the membrane is taken off the underside of the ribs (baby back pork ribs) before you smother them in the marinade, and then leaving them for a minimum of 8 hours, you'll definitely get the best flavours permeating each and every rib.

As for the rum BBQ glaze, dark rum is where it's at. Simply choose whatever one you have going spare, but obviously not your finest, most expensive bottle! I went for the Mount Gay Eclipse that Hugo wrote about back in 2013; it had just the right amount of vanilla spice sweetness to stand up to all the other components of the sauce. It worked a charm.

BBQ Rum Ribs (for 2 greedy people) 


  • 500-750g baby back pork ribs
For the paste:

  • 2 tbsp date syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce 
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a grating of nutmeg
For the rum BBQ sauce:
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 50 ml tomato ketchup
  • 45 ml dark rum
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 25g dark muscovado sugar


1. Make the paste by combining all the ingredients in a bowl with some salt and pepper. Place the ribs in a shallow dish, and rub the paste all over. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.

2. When you’re ready to cook, remove the ribs from the fridge and allow to come back up to room temperature. Meanwhile, set up your barbecue DJ BBQ style with a ‘half and half technique’ (so half the base is covered in charcoal and the other side is empty) – you want a medium indirect heat.

Place a drip tray inside the barbecue on the indirect side. Cover with the lid and let it heat up like an outdoor oven – you want a temperature of around 180°C.

3. Get yourself a length of tin foil, stack the ribs in the centre and wrap them up tightly, ensuring there are no open gaps. Place the foil parcel over indirect heat on the barbecue, cover with the lid and cook for around 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and starts to fall away from the bone, remembering to replenish with hot coals every 45 minutes or so.

*If you’re not BBQ-ing, set your oven to 180°C and simply place the foil parcel on a tray, and cook in the oven for the same amount of time.

4. To make the rum BBQ sauce, finely grate the garlic into a small pan, add the rest of the ingredients and 20ml of water. Simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s thick and glossy. Season with salt and pepper then set aside.

5. After the 2 hours, remove the ribs from the foil and brush all over with half of the sauce and any cooking juices. Return to the indirect heat - or oven - for another 30 minutes, with the lid on, basting with the rest of the sauce every 10 minutes or so.

6. Leave to rest on a board for 5 minutes before carving. Then get stuck in and sticky with these Rockin’ Rum Ribs! 

If the sauce is not all over your face when you’re done, then you’ve been doing it ALL wrong.


  1. We had these on the BBQ tonight. We had to wrap up warm, but the ribs, they sure were rockin'.

    Honeybourne Line

    1. Wooh! I'm so chuffed you liked them. They certainly make up for this rather soggy spring/summer we seem to be having so far...