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St. Louis style BBQ
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5 from 3 votes

St. Louis style BBQ

The most unique thing about St. Louis-style barbecue is the method of cooking. Rather than slow smoking over many hours, St. Louis barbecue is might simply be grilled. This isn't universal, though, and many places do still utilize the traditional smoking method.

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: St. Louis style BBQ
Servings: 5
Calories: 430kcal


  • Charcoal smoker
  • Chunk charcoal
  • Wood chunks
  • Aluminum foil
  • plastic wrap
  • Instant read thermometer


  • Brown mustard

  • 2-3


    St. Louis spare ribs

  • Spice rub

  • St. Louis barbecue sauce


  • To begin, you'll need to remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs.

  • Simply make a cut near the top of the bone side of the ribs into the white membrane, peeling back slowly and cutting away beneath it as needed until you're able to pull it off completely.

  • Next, you'll need to make a spice rub.

  • Just mix together 4 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoons paprika 1 and a half teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon each of coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin, and 1/4 a teaspoon nutmeg and cayenne pepper.

  • For the finest consistency, blend everything in a food processor for about thirty seconds, at which point you're left with a fine powder.

  • Coat your ribs on both sides with brown mustard (it should take about 1/3 of a cup in total) and rub them down with your spice mix, ensuring the spices are adhering firmly on both sides.

  • Wrap the ribs with plastic wrap and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight or up to 12 hours to let the flavors develop.

  • As your ribs sit out waiting for the heat (it's a good idea to let them warm up to room temperature before cooking), it's time to light your smoker.

  • As your ribs sit out waiting for the heat (it's a good idea to let them warm up to room temperature before cooking), it's time to light your smoker.

  • While this recipe specifically uses a charcoal smoker, you can also adapt this recipe easily for use with both a gas and charcoal grill with only a few alterations.

  • Load in your charcoal and light it, closing the lid and letting the heat build up. 

  • Your target temperature will be 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Once you've reached that temperature, add your wood chunks and close the lid again, letting smoke build up as you grab the meat.

  • Once your smoker is up to temperature, place your ribs meat side down on the smoker. 

  • Total cooking time will likely be between four and five hours.

  • Make sure you're checking the meat as well as monitoring the charcoal and wood levels during the entire cooking process.

  • Your ribs are done when the internal temperature is 185 degrees in the thicket part and the meat has started to recede from the bones.

  • During the last half hour of cooking, brush on the St. Louis barbecue sauce. 

  • This is easy to make, with just 3 cups of ketchup, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of brown mustard, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce simmered until thickened in a pot.

  •  If you don't feel like making your own, though, many stores sell premade St. Louis barbecue sauce in bottles.

  • When you've determined your ribs are fully cooked and your sauce has nicely caramelized, remove the ribs from the heat and wrap them in aluminum foil for at least 15 minutes to rest.

  • Resting allows your meat to relax, tenderizing it and helping to enhance the flavor.

  • It also allows the cooking to finish, heat distributing evenly throughout the entirety of the meat as the temperature raises another few degrees.

  • Once your ribs have rested, it's time to eat. You can cut between the bones with a sharp knife to separated them into individual ribs, but it's a lot more fun to simply lay out the slab and let people tear off what they want.

  • However you serve, though, make sure to supply extra bbq sauce for dipping for maximum flavor and authenticity.


Serving: 184g | Calories: 430kcal