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Kansas City-Style Ribs

Our family recipe for ribs has evolved to near perfection. These country-style beauties are a legend in our close circle. —Linda Schend, Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. + chilling Grill: 1 hour 25 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons each garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons each ground cumin, coarsely ground pepper and cayenne pepper
  • 12 bone-in country-style pork ribs (about 7 pounds)
  • SAUCE:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and seasonings; sprinkle over ribs. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour.
  • For sauce, in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 5-6 minutes or until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Wrap ribs in a large piece of heavy-duty foil; seal edges of foil. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 hours or until ribs are tender.
  • Carefully remove ribs from foil. Place ribs over direct medium heat; baste with some of the sauce. Grill, covered, 8-10 minutes or until browned, turning and basting occasionally with remaining sauce.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Ask your butcher for well-marbled country-style ribs to ensure they stay beautifully moist during this longer cook time. Leaner cuts tend to dry out.
  • Make a big batch of this dry rub, and keep a canister in your cabinet for spur-of-the-moment grilling. It also tastes great on chicken.
  • Get creative with your sauce; it's very flexible. Love mustard? Increase it. If you're a fan of fruity sauce, add some cherry or apricot jam. Or kick up the spice. The possibilities are endless.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 rib: 453 calories, 18g fat (6g saturated fat), 101mg cholesterol, 452mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate (36g sugars, 1g fiber), 31g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • Deandre
      Feb 5, 2021

      Jeffrey, I know where you coming from but no one is going to read your comment because it is way too DAMN long.

    • Callie
      Jun 28, 2020

      I didn't have any complaints about these. Like other people have said, they are sweet. But we like sweet. I had the most difficulty with grilling the ribs. It's really hard to control the heat and I didn't feel like they were nearly as tender as when I make them in the oven.

    • Jeffrey
      May 29, 2020

      These are not KC ribs, these are cut from the pork shoulder. The St. Louis ribs would be closer to KC. The rub is a little sweet but otherwise good. I tweaked it just a bit with some dry mustard, a little dark chili powder, a little seasoned salt, and finally some oregano. I didn't put them in foil after they were seasoned. To do that just means that your steaming them first. That's how you lose your rub. Your rub is what forms the bark that makes this BBQ taste so good! After I put a pan of water underneath the grill directly below the meat, I tossed a chunk of pecan wood on top the coals and slow cooked mine over indirect heat (probably about 235-245 degrees) for about 2 hours spritzing them with a mixture of apple juice, and Jack Daniels about every 35 minutes or so after the first 45 minutes the meat was on the grill. In that way the meat doesn't dry out. After two hours you have the option of wrapping all of them with heavy duty foil (two sheets) and cooking them indirectly again for another hour. You then check them and if the ribs are at your desired tenderness (195° or so), you pull them off and you put them back on the grill over direct heat and you finish cooking that way with the barbecue sauce. I am an old-time meat smoker and personally I would not have wrapped them. I would have left them on the grill and checked them after about two and a half hours with my Thermapen thermometer. Once they got to about 195-200° that's when I would pull them off the grill/smoker. You have the option to serve them with sauce, or sauce them while they are still on the grill/smoker. It's totally your preference.

    • Relkawl
      Oct 20, 2019

      I really like this recipe a little sweet but mine were very moist and great flavor. I would prefer that the ingredients be listed separate not grouped as the 2 table spoons of garland then

    • justmbeth
      Mar 31, 2019

      Really good rib recipe. The ribs were not as tender if I had precooked before adding to the grill. I will make these ribs again.

    • No_Time_To_Cook
      Jun 29, 2018

      Not at all crazy about these and will not be making again. I followed the recipe except I used smaller boneless ribs, so they ended up being dried out, but that was my fault, not the recipe. They just did not have the good flavor I was hoping for.

    • Callgirl54
      May 26, 2018

      Lots of negative comments on this recipe, nothing positive. Way to go people. I'm sure each of you believes your BBQ ribs are better than the next persons. That's a bunch of cooking ego maniacs for ya. Rather than offering some useful advice it's better to put it down then let out the "family secret sauce."

    • OzarkMeatSmoker
      May 24, 2018

      No KC ribs here.I like country style "ribs". But they are not KC ribs. And the sauce looks great but it's not even close.The world thinks KC Masterpiece sauce is "KC style". NOT. NOT EVEN. Come to KC, we'll take a que tour.

    • Sara
      May 23, 2018

      Recipe sounds good, but nothing Kansas City style about them. First off, country style ribs are never considered ribs in KC. Generally, St Louis style are used and done do baby back. Never cooked in foil either. Always slow smoked and not sauced until serving. Sorry, but I’m originally from KC and don’t want people thinking this is what they’d get there. Otherwise, these do sound good.

    • laurie
      Jul 18, 2017

      Excellent recipe and very easy to follow. Delicious!