Grilled Spare Ribs with Fig-Orange Glaze

I’ve decided to make Make Ahead Monday a monthly carnival, so it will now appear on the first Monday of every month.  Hopefully, this will keep me from driving myself crazy, attempting to make at least one thing a week that can be cooked in advance, or assembled out of things that have already been prepared (in other words:  leftovers).  And perhaps garner a little more participation, as well, although I have to say I really appreciate the people who have been participating (I’m looking at YOU, Andrea 🙂 ).  Which is not to say you couldn’t make this recipe ahead – you could, most definitely, pre-cook the ribs and make the glaze ahead of time if you wanted to, then finish them on the grill at a later point.

Beloved has been on a dried fig kick.  He won’t admit it, but he has something of a sweet tooth and dried figs have become his sweet crack of choice over the last couple of weeks – he’s particularly fond of black mission figs (I prefer Turkish figs).  The first week he decided to give them a try, he bought 3 different kinds; I don’t recall the kind he bought along with the black mission and Turkish, but we weren’t as fond of them as we are the others so I decided to cook with them.

Like most of the country, it was unseasonably warm here all week long – so warm that Beloved brought his grill/smoker out of winter hibernation and the ever-present (in warm weather, at least) bags of charcoal and wood chips are again in place by the patio door.  We’d left work early one day last week and agreed we’d make some spare ribs from our most recent hog.  Instead of making my usual barbecue sauce, I thought I’d try a glaze made of the figs we weren’t eating as snacks.

It was marvelous.  Yes, it even received The Young One’s Seal Of Approval.

Note:  I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer spare ribs to baby backs – they are meatier and more flavorful, and if you braise or slow roast them prior to grilling, they are every bit as tender.  However, if you use baby backs, cut the slow-roasting time significantly, to perhaps 30 to 45 minutes or they will fall completely apart or just be overcooked.

If you don’t eat pork, this glaze would be absolutely stunning on grilled chicken leg quarters.  Also, you won’t use all the glaze, so the carb counts in the recipe are a bit overstated.

Grilled Spare Ribs with Fig-Orange Glaze
Grilled Spare Ribs with Fig-Orange Glaze
Serves: 8
  • 3 pounds pork spareribs
  • Rub
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Glaze
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • dash white pepper
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 large orange, juiced
  • 10 dried figs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  2. Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rinse the ribs and pat dry; sprinkle liberally with the rub on all sides. Rub the spices into the meat and wrap with aluminum foil. Place on a shallow, rimmed baking sheet. Bake the
  3. foil-wrapped ribs for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. or until tender but not falling off the bone.
  4. While the ribs are baking, combine the glaze ingredients in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the figs have softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly; pour into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a container and cool completely.
  6. Grill the ribs over [url =””]indirect heat[/url], basting with the fig glaze, until the ribs are crusty, brown and almost falling-off-the-bone tender.
  7. Nutrition (per serving): 498 calories, 38.8g total fat, 119.7mg cholesterol, 308.9mg sodium, 432.5mg potassium, 13.7g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 10.6g sugar, 24.8g protein.


9 thoughts on “Grilled Spare Ribs with Fig-Orange Glaze”

  1. It almost seems a sacrilege to have ribs without my barbeque rub, but this was worth the sacrifice. Dang this glaze is good – can’t wait to have it again. Mmmmm – chicken!

    1. I was thinking the same thing.

      Jan, We love figs. I have some chevre goat cheese with figs that I’m looking to do something awesome with.

  2. Oh man, oh man. I should just stop bookmarking your recipes and just come back to your blog when I need inspiration, since I bookmark them all anyway, haha.

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