There’s something undeniably summery and wonderful about a rack of ribs, and you can enjoy them in oh-so-many ways. Most ribs in America are pork. There are two main cuts—
baby back ribs and spare ribs. Baby back ribs are well-marbled, manageably sized, and quick to cook. Spare ribs are longer, thicker, and meatier, giving them extra heft and a longer cooking time.
If you’re not in the mood for pork, try grilling beef short ribs Korean-style, or braising them until meltingly tender. Or you can’t go wrong with our lamb ribs bathed in spicy harissa barbecue sauce. Whether you’re looking to grill, smoke, roast, or braise your meat, we’ve got you covered. Here are our favorite rib recipes inspired by cuisines across the world, from Portugal to Uruguay to China.
It’s a lucky rack of ribs that meets this rub: Warm spices like cinnamon, allspice, and ginger get a depth charge from cocoa powder and bit of heat from fiery mustard powder.
Get the recipe for Cocoa-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs »
Grilling then smoking these ribs gives them an intense crust and soulful flavor.
Get the recipe for Char-Smoked Baby Back Ribs »
Fatty lamb ribs are rubbed with spices and glazed with harissa-laced barbecue sauce, yielding an irresistible sticky-sweet crust.
Get the recipe for Lamb Ribs with Spicy Harissa Barbecue Sauce »
Chinese Barbecued Spareribs
Pineapple juice sweetens and tenderizes beef short ribs in this classic Korean grilled dish. Ask your butcher for bone-in short ribs cut in half crosswise.
Get the recipe for Korean Grilled Beef Ribs (Kalbi) »
Ribs are marinated in a thick red pepper paste, braised until tender, and served over roasted potatoes in this Portuguese dish, which first appeared in our November 2013 issue with Jean Anderson’s story
The Food I Dream Of. The paste is well seasoned, so there’s no need to add salt. Get the recipe for Entrecosto no Forno »
The Georgian restaurant Diaroni is famous for its delicate veal ribs. Since ribs these fine are hard to find in other countries, cookbook author Carla Capalbo sometimes substitutes baby back pork ribs. For added flavor, marinate the meat several hours before cooking.
Get the recipe for Spicy Ribs (Tskhare Neknebi) »
These short ribs are brined, steam-roasted, and then seared, making the meat succulent and turning the peppercorn rub into a thick, spicy bark.
Get the recipe for Justin Smillie’s Peppercorn-Crusted Short Ribs with Lemon, Olives, and Radishes »
Tangy fermented pepper paste, the base of Burns’ harissa, can be customized to be as sweet or spicy as you prefer. “Mine is usually in the middle,” she says. The sauce can be used immediately, but Burns says the leftovers will continue to improve in taste for up to 6 months and keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. Slow-cooking the short ribs at the oven’s lowest temperature, or in a low-heat dehydrator, ensures that the centers stay medium-rare. And a quick sear on a grill or grill pan delivers crispy edges.
Get the recipe for Short Ribs with Fermented Pepper Harissa »
Whole garlic cloves perfume the braise for this tangy beef dish from Marvin Gapultos’
The Adobo Road Cookbook (Tuttle, 2013). Get the recipe for Filipino Beef Short Ribs Adobo »
Braise pork ribs with a homey, vegetable-rich sauce with a touch of heat, and use the leftovers for tacos. This is a classic recipe from Mexican cooking sage Josefina Velázquez de León.
Get the recipe for Mexican Braised Spare Ribs with Squash and Corn »
A three-day brining, smoking, and charring process adds incredible flavor to these ribs from chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston. The result tastes like grilled bacon.
Grilled Beef Ribs with Charred Vegetables
These beef ribs are hearty enough for the hungriest diner.
Get the recipe for Grilled Beef Ribs with Charred Vegetables »
Cocoa powder enriches these braised beef short ribs.
Get the recipe for Braised Short Ribs with Celery Root Pureé »