Chicago-Style Rib Tips

  • Serves

    serves 6


Rib tips, the flavorful ends removed from spare-ribs, are famous at Uncle John BBQ on Chicago's South Side. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2011 BBQ issue along with Michael Stern's story South Side Style.


For the Rub and Rib Tips

  • 14 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 4 lb. pork rib tips

For the Barbecue Sauce

  • 13 cup ketchup
  • 13 cup pineapple juice
  • 14 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 12 tsp. celery seeds
  • 12 tsp. garlic powder


Step 1

Make the rub: Mix sugar, salt, chili powder, pepper, cayenne, sage, onion powder, and Old Bay in a bowl. Rub ribs all over with spice mixture. Let sit 1 hour.

Step 2

Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a 2-qt. saucepan, whisk together ketchup, juice, sugars, vinegar, Worcestershire, chili powder, mustard, salt, pepper, celery, and garlic powder; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 25–30 minutes; set sauce aside.

Step 3

Prepare your grill using the kettle grill, bullet smoker, or gas grill method, (see links for instructions) using apple wood chunks or chips (see Fuel and Flavor). Place tips on grill grate. Maintaining a temperature of 225°-250° (if using a kettle grill or bullet smoker, replenish fire with unlit coals, as needed, to maintain temperature; see How to Barbecue article), cook, turning once and basting with sauce the last 30 minutes of cooking, until the tip of a small knife slips easily in and out of the meat, 3–4 hours.

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