For my South Carolina Ribs with Mustard BBQ Sauce the secret is all in the sauce. A golden yellow mustard sauce simmered with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and several other pantry staples that will have you craving more.
Sure these pork ribs get cleaned and dry rubbed, then go low and slow in the smoker, but I’m all about the sauce for these.
Where Eastern North Carolina BBQ is keen on a thin, red vinegar sauce with it’s spicy beginnings coming from Africa, South Carolina likes this tangy, yellow mustard based sauce.
Don’t get me wrong I love the thin red sauce, especially used with pulled pork, but this mustard version here is fantastic, too and a must try.
I’ve been enjoying sharing with you all the different kinds of rubs like my Kansas City Style Dry Rub and sauces like this Alabama White Sauce, instead of your typical BBQ sauce, but lately and this Mustard BBQ Sauce has me going back to it again and again.
After making several batches of these I think the best is NOT to baste with the mustard sauce and just use as a dipping sauce or drizzle over the ribs AFTER they’ve been cut. The mustard seems to get a little bitter if basted while the ribs are still on the grill. Up to you.
What to do with any leftovers?
If there are any leftover ribs, I typically make my BBQ Pork with Cheesy Grits. Leftover pork ribs get shredded and simmered in your favorite BBQ sauce and top creamy, cheesy grits for a Southern inspired dinner that’s sure to satisfy.
South Carolina Ribs with Mustard BBQ Sauce
- 4 lbs pork ribs
For the Rub:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp dry mustard
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce:
- 3/4 cup yellow mustard
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp hot sauce (I use Tabasco)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
For the Mustard BBQ Sauce
- Whisk together all ingredients in small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool before using.
- See Note 1 regarding basting and Note 2 regarding par boiling ribs.
For the Ribs
- In a small bowl mix together the dry rub ingredients. Remove the thin membrane from the backs of the ribs. Apply the dry rub on both sides of the ribs and work in with your fingers. Set aside covered for 1 hour minimum in the refrigerator, OR overnight in the refrigerator and then bring to room temp prior to grilling.
- Grill using indirect heat: For gas grill do the 2 Zone set up which is either half the grill is lit to achieve desired temperature and the meat is placed on opposite side, or have sides lit leaving the center NOT on or lowest temperature. To grill using indirect heat on a charcoal BBQ or smoker, ignite charcoal and place it to one side of the grill, creating a space for the food or the center with meat you’re cooking not directly over those lit coals. Typically use a drip pan under the meat to avoid any flareups.
For the Grill:
- If you like it low and slow: Set up the grill and preheat to 225°F. Add smoker chips per manufacturer's instructions if using.
- Place the ribs, bone side down, in the center of the grate, cover the grill and and cook the ribs about 4 to 5 hours for baby backs or 5 to 6 hours for spare ribs.
- Remove from the grill and let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the ribs.
- If you don’t have the time: Set up the grill and preheat to medium (325° to 350°F).
- Place the ribs, bone side down, in the center of the grate, cover the grill and cook the ribs for 2 1/2 to 3 hours for spare ribs or 1 1/2 to 2 hours for baby back ribs.
- Remove from the grill and let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the ribs. Serve with Mustard Sauce.
For the Smoker:
- Set up and light the smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat it to low (225°F). Add smoker chips per manufacturer's instructions.
- Place the ribs in the smoker bone side down and smoke until cooked through, 4 to 5 hours for baby backs or 5 to 6 hours for spare ribs.
- Remove from the smoker and let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the ribs. Serve with Mustard Sauce.
For the Instant Pot:
- Place trivet in bottom of pot and add 1 cup of water (or apple/pineapple juice, optional).
- Set ribs upright on the trivet so they are not stacked on top of one another.
- Close lid and vent. Select Manual Pressure and set timer for 24 minutes (25-28 minutes depending if they’re extra meaty).
- Once done, allow the Instant Pot to go through natural release.
- Place under broiler or grill until they crisp up and are slightly charred. Serve with Mustard Sauce.
For the Oven:
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Place the ribs, bone side down, on top of a wire rack set in an aluminum foil lined baking tray and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours for spare ribs or 1 1/2 to 2 hours for baby back ribs. Halfway through, cover ribs with aluminum foil to protect them from drying out.
- You want the ribs to have an internal temperature of 145°F. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes prior to cutting. Serve with Mustard Sauce.
- After making several batches of these I think the best is NOT to baste with the mustard sauce and just use as a dipping sauce or drizzle over the ribs AFTER they've been cut. The mustard seems to get a little bitter if basted while the ribs are still on the grill. Up to you.
- To par-boil or not: Since ribs are fatty, many cooks par-boil ribs to render out the fat, tenderize the rib meat, and shorten their cooking time. Par-boiling with low heat also allows tough proteins to dissolve as the meat cooks. If you do par-boil your ribs season or flavor the boiling liquid with a vinegar, mustard, spices, etc. because in plain water, the flavor of the meat itself will be lost to the cooking liquid.