Steven Raichlen’s Rib Wings


As featured on Project Fire. Photo by Steve Nestor. © Steven Raichlen

STEVEN RAICHLENA rack of ribs is typically sliced into individual ribs after cooking; why not cook them that way? The individual spareribs will have a heightened level of flavor due to seasoning and smoking the spareribs on all sides. The individual spareribs will cook faster than a whole rack. Shout out to our Grill Wrangler, Steve Nestor, who came up with these ingenious rib wings for one of his tailgate parties. Note: Using a wire rack makes it easier to move the individual spareribs on and off the grill at the same time.

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  • 2 racks of St Louis ribs cut into individual pieces

Rub Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 cup Chipotle Molasses Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows), or as needed
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Your favorite hot sauce to taste

Rub Instructions


Big Green Egg Apple Chunks
Cast Iron Sauce Pot with Basting Brush, optional
Spray water bottle and wire rack


Set the EGG for indirect cooking with a convEGGtor at 250°F/121°C with apple chunks.

Slice the 2 racks of spareribs into individual ribs. Arrange on a rimmed sheet pan.

Combine the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and mix with your fingers, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar. Season the ribs on all sides with the rub. Arrange the individual ribs on a wire rack over the sheet pan so you can use the wire rack to place all the ribs into the smoker at the same time.

Place the ribs on their rack in the Egg and cook for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in a spray bottle. Shake to mix, then spray the ribs well. Continue cooking the ribs for another 2 to 2-1/2 hours, or until done, spraying every 45 minutes. The ribs are ready for saucing when the meat has shrunk back about 1/2 inch from the ends of the bones.

Increase the Egg temperature to 400 degrees and baste the ribs on all sides with Chipotle Molasses Barbecue Sauce.

Cook the ribs for an additional 20 to 30 minutes to sear the sauce into the ribs.

Chipotle Molasses Barbeque Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup sriracha
  • 1/4 cup rye whiskey or bourbon
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sambuca
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles, minced, plus 1 to 2 teaspoons can juices
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chipotle Molasses Barbeque Sauce Instructions

Makes 3 cups

Smoke and fire are what make brisket barbecue, and they’re about to electrify a barbecue sauce to go with it. The smoke comes from chipotles—Mexican smoked jalapeños. The fire comes from the chiles, plus sriracha and horseradish mustard. There’s one unexpected ingredient here—Sambuca—an Italian liqueur (similar to French pastis and Greek ouzo) that adds an unexpected anise-y sweetness.


Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the sauce, uncovered, until thick and richly flavored, 15 to 20 minutes. Correct the seasoning, adding additional salt, pepper, sriracha, or sugar, as desired. Let the sauce cool to room temperature for serving. Store in clean jars away from heat or light. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Serves 3 to 4.


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