Smoky And Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs: A BBQ Favorite

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By Christopher Spiker

Smoky and spicy jerk pork ribs are about to become your new BBQ favorite! Imagine the deliciously smoky aroma filling the air as you savor the perfect blend of spices that leave a little kick on your taste buds. In this article, you’ll discover the secrets to creating these mouthwatering ribs right in your own backyard. From choosing the right cut of meat to mastering the perfect jerk seasoning, you’ll be guided step-by-step to barbecue bliss. Get ready to impress your family and friends with ribs that are bursting with bold, unforgettable flavors! Have you ever taken a bite of something so delicious that you were immediately transported to a tropical paradise? If not, then get ready because you’re about to embark on a culinary adventure that will do just that. Let’s talk about Smoky and Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs—an unforgettable BBQ favorite that’s sure to elevate any backyard gathering to an exotic feast.

The Allure of Jerk Pork Ribs

Imagine succulent pork ribs, beautifully seasoned with a blend of spices that not only add heat but also layers of complex, mouth-watering flavors. Jerk seasoning originates from Jamaica and has garnered worldwide acclaim for its unique combination of heat, sweetness, and smokiness.

What Makes Jerk Seasoning Special?

Jerk seasoning is a medley of aromatic spices and fresh ingredients. Some of the key components include allspice (pimento), Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, and ginger. These elements come together to create a symphony of flavors that’s both bold and intricate.

Why Pork Ribs?

Pork ribs are the ideal canvas for jerk seasoning. Their rich marbling and tender meat allow the spices to penetrate deeply, delivering a hearty, satisfying bite every time. Plus, ribs are a BBQ classic—they pull apart easily, making them perfect for casual eating with friends and family.

Gathering Your Ingredients

Before diving into marinating and grilling, you’ll need a comprehensive list of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make Smoky and Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs:

Ingredient Quantity Purpose
Pork Ribs 3-4 lbs The star of the show
Allspice 2 tbsp ground Main spice for that unique jerk flavor
Scotch Bonnet Peppers 2, finely chopped Provides the heat
Thyme 1 tbsp dried or 2 tbsp fresh Adds herbal notes
Ginger 2 tbsp grated Gives it a bit of spice and sweetness
Garlic 4 cloves, minced For depth of flavor
Brown Sugar 2 tbsp Balances the heat
Soy Sauce 1/4 cup Adds umami and saltiness
Lime Juice From 2 limes Adds acidity and brightness
Vegetable Oil 2 tbsp Helps in marinating
Smoked Paprika 2 tbsp Enhances the smokiness
Black Pepper 1 tsp For a bit of extra kick
Cinnamon 1/2 tsp Adds warmth
Nutmeg 1/2 tsp Complements the allspice

Marinating the Ribs

Proper marinating is crucial for achieving fully-flavored jerk pork ribs. You’ll want the marinade to penetrate the meat deeply, ensuring every bite is packed with flavor.

Creating the Marinade

  1. Blend the Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the ground allspice, chopped Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, grated ginger, minced garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, vegetable oil, smoked paprika, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well until everything is thoroughly combined.
  2. Prepare the Ribs: While your marinade is coming together, prepare the pork ribs by removing the membrane on the underside if your butcher hasn’t already done so. This step is essential as it allows the flavors to penetrate better and makes the ribs easier to eat.
  3. Apply the Marinade: Place the ribs in a large resealable bag or a dish. Pour the marinade over the ribs, ensuring they are completely coated. Massage the marinade into the meat for a minute or two to help the absorption process.

Let it Sit

Seal the bag or cover your dish with plastic wrap. Let the ribs marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. The longer they marinate, the richer and more complex the flavors will be.

Preparing the Grill

Grilling is where the magic happens. The smoky flavor from the grill will enhance the jerk seasoning, giving you that perfect combination of smoky and spicy.

Setting Up the Grill

For Charcoal Grills:

  1. Started the Coals: Light your charcoal and allow them to burn until they’re covered with a layer of white ash. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Set Up for Indirect Cooking: Arrange the coals on one side of the grill, leaving the other side empty. This setup is crucial for cooking the ribs slowly and evenly without burning them.
  3. Add Wood Chips: If you want to boost the smokiness, consider adding some soaked wood chips (like hickory or applewood) to the coals.

For Gas Grills:

  1. Preheat the Grill: Turn all burners to high and preheat for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Indirect Heat Setup: Turn off one or two burners to create an indirect cooking zone. Place a drip pan under the grates on the side with the burners turned off.
  3. Add a Smoking Box: For added smokiness, you can use a smoker box filled with wood chips, placed over one of the lit burners.

Cooking the Ribs

  1. Initial Sear: When the grill is ready, start by searing the ribs over direct heat for about 4-5 minutes per side. This step locks in the flavors and gives you that beautiful grill mark.
  2. Slow Cooking: Move the ribs to the indirect heat zone, bone side down. Close the grill lid and let them cook slowly. The goal is to cook them low and slow, maintaining the grill temperature around 225°F (107°C).
  3. Basting: Every 30 minutes, open the grill and baste the ribs with any remaining marinade or a little apple juice. This keeps them moist and enhances the flavor.

How Long to Cook

Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your ribs and the exact temperature of your grill, but typically, you’re looking at 3-4 hours for perfectly tender ribs. To check for doneness, the ribs should be tender and pull apart easily, with an internal temperature of about 190-203°F (88-95°C).

Smoky And Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs: A BBQ Favorite

Finishing Touches

After spending hours on the grill, your Smoky and Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs are nearly ready to grace your table.

Resting the Ribs

Once the ribs are done, remove them from the grill and let them rest for about 15 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring every bite is succulent and flavorful.

Optional Glaze

For that extra burst of flavor and a glossy finish, you can apply a simple glaze. Mix some honey and lime juice together and brush it over the ribs in the last 10 minutes of cooking or just after you take them off the grill.

Serving Suggestions

Although these ribs are undoubtedly the star of the show, having the right sides can complement and enhance your BBQ feast.

Classic Caribbean Sides

  • Rice and Peas: A staple side dish in Caribbean cuisine, it complements the spicy ribs beautifully.
  • Fried Plantains: Sweet and savory, they balance the heat of the ribs.
  • Coleslaw: The crunchy, tangy slaw provides a refreshing contrast.


When it comes to drinks, you’ll want something that can stand up to the bold flavors of jerk seasoning. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Beer: A light lager or pale ale can cut through the spice and refresh your palate.
  • Rum Punch: A fruity, refreshing cocktail that ties into the Caribbean theme.
  • Iced Tea: A non-alcoholic option that’s cooling and pairs well with BBQ.

Smoky And Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs: A BBQ Favorite

Tips for Success

To make sure your Smoky and Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs turn out perfect every time, keep these tips in mind:

Choosing the Right Ribs

Go for baby back ribs if you prefer meatier, less fatty ribs. Spare ribs are also an excellent choice for those who enjoy a fattier, more succulent bite.

Temperature Control

Keeping the grill at a consistent temperature is crucial for achieving tender, juicy ribs. Use a grill thermometer to monitor the temperature regularly.

Patience is Key

Low and slow is the name of the game when it comes to ribs. Rushing the cooking process will result in tough, chewy meat.

Experiment with Wood Chips

Different wood chips can add subtle variations to the smoky flavor. Applewood will add a slightly sweet aroma, while hickory will provide a stronger, more traditional BBQ flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Spicy Are These Ribs?

Scotch bonnet peppers are among the hottest peppers, so these ribs do pack a punch. However, you can adjust the heat level by using fewer peppers or substituting them with milder options like jalapeños.

Can I Make These in the Oven?

Absolutely! Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C) and place the ribs on a baking sheet. Cover them with aluminum foil and cook for 2.5-3 hours. Finish by broiling them for a few minutes to get that crispy exterior.

What’s the Best Way to Store Leftovers?

Store any leftover ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep well for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

Smoky And Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs: A BBQ Favorite


There you have it! Smoky and Spicy Jerk Pork Ribs are more than just a meal—they’re an experience. The complex flavors of the jerk seasoning, combined with the smokiness from the grill, make these ribs a standout dish for any BBQ. Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or a backyard BBQ newbie, this recipe is sure to impress. Happy grilling!