Italian grilled and stewed pork ribs

All over the world, everybody cooks spare ribs and all in their own way. In Italy, you will find spareribs stewed in a thick tomato sauce. We wanted to make this dish to find out what’s so good about it.

We start with beautiful American cut baby back ribs. These are colossal pork ribs with a good amount of meat. All we do with it is get rid of the membrane and cut it into smaller pieces. We always remove this membrane from the ribs. After cooking, this membrane becomes parchment-like, and that is just not nice to eat.

You remove the membrane by inserting a dull dinner knife between the membrane and the bone. If you then work the membrane upwards, you can get a finger under it. Now you pull the membrane off the spare ribs.

We grill the spare ribs while we make the sauce at the same time in a Dutch oven. In the sauce, we use canned peeled tomatoes. We often find these better than the fresh tomatoes that we can buy here in the Netherlands. With onion, garlic, and fresh Italian herbs, you make a great tomato sauce that is also just a good pasta sauce.

When the ribs are nicely grilled all around, they go with the sauce. Stir everything well and add a glass of white wine. Then put the lid on and let the sauce simmer for a few hours. From time to time, the lid may be opened to check whether the meat is tender enough and whether the sauce is not boiling dry. If so, add some extra wine.

These are our Italian spare ribs. You could serve them with pasta, but we opted for rice. If you are going to make them, let us know in the comments below. Or better! Take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbq.heroes so we can see what you made.


  • Baby back ribs
  • Ground black pepper and sea salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 600 grams of canned peeled tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp chopped Italian herbs
  • 2 tbsp sliced ​​sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • White wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil


  1. Remove the membrane from the spare ribs and then cut the ribs into one-bone pieces. Sprinkle each bone with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Finely chop the onion, garlic, Italian herbs and sun-dried tomatoes.
  3. Light the barbecue and grill the spareribs until nicely browned all over.
  4. Place a Dutch oven over direct heat and heat the olive oil with the garlic in it. When the oil is hot and before the garlic is burnt, add the onion.
  5. Fry the onion until it is soft and then add the tomatoes, Italian herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and chilli flakes.
    If the spareribs are to your liking, they can go with the sauce. Pour in a glass of white wine and close the lid.
  6. Let them simmer for 2 hours until the spareribs are tender. If the sauce boils dry, add some extra white wine.
  7. Stir in some fresh basil and serve with pasta or rice.

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