Crispy Sticky Smoked Spareribs

6 reviews

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This post is sponsored by Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. All opinions are my own.

These crispy, sticky spareribs are sweet and perfectly messy with a great smoky flavor. I created this recipe to kick off grilling season early and give you a heads up about the Tyson Fresh Meats line-up of pork ribs perfect for summer smoking and grilling. Make sure to check out to find Tyson® ribs near you. While you’re on the site, make sure to enter to win one of my all-time favorite grills, the Camp Chef® Woodwind SG with the Sidekick attachment. Ribs AND a new smoker?! Best way to start the summer!

Crispy, sticky, smoked spareribs on a baking sheet.

Smoked Pork Spareribs

Smoking spareribs results in tender, delicious ribs. Spareribs are notoriously well-marbled with plenty of intramuscular fat, making them perfect for low and slow grilling and smoking.

For this recipe, I decided to keep the old school low and slow BBQ technique and kick it up a notch with exciting flavors. After a long smoke, these spareribs are dunked in a sweet and fruity cherry glaze. You get that classic BBQ smoked sparerib flavor highlighted by those bright, sweet notes of the tart cherry juice and the brown sugar glaze.

My favorite thing about this recipe is the color on these pork spareribs. You get that classic pink smoke ring, a nice dark bark, and a bright red mahogany color from the glaze. They look like molten lava!

pack of Tyson pork spareribs and sweet rub on cutting board.

What are Spareribs?

Spareribs are the meaty, thick ribs cut near the belly and breastbone of the pig that include 11 to 13 long bones. These ribs are delicious and fatty, often making them more tender than baby back ribs.

Spareribs are perfect grilled or smoked nice and slow. Because they are so long and have so much meat on them, they are incredibly popular in Texas BBQ restaurants. It’s one of the most common restaurant ribs, often served smothered in a sweet and delicious BBQ sauce.

smoky spare ribs on grill.

How to Smoke Spareribs

Getting the perfect smoke ring on your spareribs is only 5 steps away. Simply follow these how-to instructions to get that pretty pink smoke ring on your ribs.

  1. Season liberally with a good dry rub. My sweet rub provides the perfect sweet coating to complement that deep, smoky flavor.
  2. Smoke at a low temperature using your favorite hardwood. Since this recipe uses a sticky cherry glaze, cherry hardwood was the obvious choice. Apple or hickory are also great options for smoking spareribs.
  3. Wrap in foil. Wrapping your spareribs in foil help them retain moisture, and it infuses the ribs with tons of flavor.
  4. Glaze ribs in a sticky, sweet sauce. The stickier the better!
  5. Char for caramelized flavor and crispy edges.

crispy sticky spare ribs on baking sheet.

How Long to Smoke Spareribs

Low and slow is the best way to go when making smoked spareribs. Once you get your grill up and smoking (I love using my Camp Chef SmokePro 36 SGX), I recommend smoking for 4 hours and then braising them in butter and brown sugar for an additional hour to add moisture and flavor. Finally, finish cooking them over a high heat grill for a few minutes to get that perfect char and to caramelize the BBQ sauce.

Smoked Spareribs Recipe

Watch the video below and I’ll show you step-by-step how I make these smoked spare ribs at home. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipe videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page. Follow along and let’s make awesome food together!

Crispy Sticky Smoked Spare Ribs

By: Susie Bulloch (
5 from 6 votes
These crispy sticky smoked spareribs are sweet and perfectly messy with a great smoky flavor. Slow smoked, glazed, and charred on the grill for texture.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time5 hours 40 minutes


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Foiling Liquid

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup tart cherry juice



  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F. I recommend using cherry wood for this recipe.
  • Trim the spareribs by removing the membrane; trimming any fat off the top, and any of the thin ribs at the end of the rack.
  • Season ribs on both sides with sweet rub or your favorite BBQ seasoning.
  • Place on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 4 hours.
  • Lay out a large piece of aluminum foil on a cutting board. Sprinkle brown sugar, cubed butter, and the tart cherry juice on top of the foil. Lay the ribs down on top of the brown sugar mixture, bone side up. Tightly close the foil around the ribs.
  • Place the ribs back on the smoker for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reads 200 degrees F.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients for the glaze. Remove the ribs from the foil and place on a cutting board, and pour any residual cooking liquid from the foil into the pan with the glaze ingredients.
  • Bring glaze to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, slice your spare ribs.
  • Dunk each individual rib into the pan with the glaze and place it on a baking sheet.
  • Either preheat your oven to broil or increase the temperature of your grill or smoker to 450 degrees F.
  • Broil or grill the ribs for 2-3 minutes per side until the glaze is caramelized and the edges of the ribs are crispy.
  • Serve with plenty of wet wipes and enjoy your good, messy ribs!


Calories: 1147kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 77g | Saturated Fat: 32g | Cholesterol: 243mg | Sodium: 414mg | Potassium: 901mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 62g | Vitamin A: 1195IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 276mg | Iron: 9.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

22 Reviews

  1. Carol Passno says:

    Do you any suggestions on a substitution for the cherry juice? Can’t find it anywhere wehere I live. Thank you for your recipes

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      You can use whatever liquid sounds good to you!!

      1. Heather says:

        Can you suggest another liquid? I am in the same boat and cannot find the cherry juice anywhere. I am smoking some ribs today and would LOVE to try this one out.

        1. Hey Grill Hey says:

          Sure! Really, any substitute that you think sounds good will work fine. I’d use some apple juice or something similarly sugary to the cherry juice!

  2. Gary Captol says:

    This Recipe is on my BBQ Bucket List. However, I am NOT a 3-2-1 fan and I feel 5 hours and 40 minutes is way too long. I prefer some chew on my Ribs. I do the bend test. Can I go to the Dunking of the Ribs and then put on the grill ?Thanks for all you do.

  3. Eric says:

    Looks like a great recipe. What if I wanted to smoke the ribs the day before serving? Maybe do the long smoke, then wrap with the butter etc. and refrigerate, then do the final hour and glaze/grill steps the next day? Thoughts?

  4. David says:

    I have made these ribs several, and I have to say, they’re just amazing. I do, however, have a question I hope you will respond to. In the picture at the top of this recipe, the glaze on the ribs looks a bit thicker, and clings to the meat much better than I”ve experienced in making this recipe. Is there a way to thicken the glaze a little? After cooking the glaze, it still has the consistency of regular juice. I really would appreciate any suggestions. Your website and recipes is our go to reference when smoking meats. Thanks.

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Keep the glaze on the stove longer and let it thicken up!

  5. Susan says:

    My family said best ribs ever. Thanks a bunch. Happy family!

  6. David Szymanski says:

    Love, love, love these ribs. It’s a snowy day here in Michigan, and I have the smoker going. These ribs are truly amazing. Pair it with some corn on the cob and a baked potato, and you have a fantastic meal. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  7. Kate says:

    The tart cherry juice is what caught my eye with this recipe. This recipe is a keeper! I added 1 sliced jalapeño with the ribs and seeds to the glaze…AMAZING! Thank you for a great recipe!

  8. Blair says:

    This was the best thing I’ve ever cooked. My smoker wasn’t playing nice and I could only get it to sit on 90c/194f so I smoked it for 5 hours before wrapping it up rather than 4.

    I had my glaze fairly thick before coating the ribs, then I let the sauce sit for a bit before using as a dipping sauce with the meal (was amazing with roast potatoes).

  9. Mike says:

    Made this along with the rub. Everybody loved it! I have a question about the glaze. How thick is it supposed to be? Am I supposed to reduce it? It was still very much a liquid after following the recipe.

    1. Linda says:

      I thought the same thing, so I thickened it with a little corn starch! Yum!!

  10. Matthew W. Brown Jr says:

    Love this but can you design recipes with less sugar and decrease the carbs for us Ketos folks.

    1. William Thompson says:

      Besides eating these on a cheat day or scaling back on your daily intake, you could experiment with dark molasses, agave syrup (go light), monkfruit and/or honey to get the similar taste with a lower GI and fewer net carbs. This would be better than artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, you won’t achieve the same outcome that only brown sugar can deliver.