Carolina-Style BBQ Spare Ribs with Smoked Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites
- by Chef David Rose
- Last updated Jan 5, 2023
Ready for the best BBQ on the block? We’re talking tender and juicy Carolina-style BBQ pork spare ribs and savory, mouthwatering smoked mac ‘n’ cheese bites. If you’re not drooling yet, you will be. Watch my grill-side and follow the recipe to make the best smoked ribs (and mac ‘n’ cheese) of your life!
What is Carolina-Style BBQ?
Carolina-style BBQ has been around since colonial times and it’s all about the sauce. The vinegar-based sauce that is traditional to this style of BBQ provides a great tanginess that complements mouthwatering fatty pork ribs. Make your BBQ sauce from scratch with just a few simple ingredients. I promise it’s worth it!
The Best Spare Ribs for Smoking
You won’t find a better canvas for your next BBQ masterpiece than our St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs. These spare ribs are meaty, juicy, and competition-grade. Just smoke low and slow and add my homemade Carolina-style BBQ sauce for incredible and authentic spare ribs.
How to Smoke Pork Spare Ribs
To cook St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs, dry the ribs and remove any membrane from the back. Season liberally with my flavorful dry rub on both sides and allow the meat to come to room temperature before smoking. Preheat grill to 250°F indirect heat and add pre-soaked wood chips directly over the coals. Don’t have a smoker? Check out this guide to turn your grill into a smoker.
St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs will take about 2 1/2 hours to smoke. Here’s the timeline for smoking incredibly tender and juicy spare ribs:
- Place ribs on smoker meaty side up and smoke one hour
- Spritz with apple-vinegar mixture
- Smoke 30 minutes
- Flip ribs
- Smoke 30 minutes
- Smoke 30 minutes
Chef Tip: Spritzing with an apple juice and apple cider vinegar mixture keeps the meat moist and allows the incredible smoke flavor to permeate the spare ribs.
Once ribs are tender and rib bones are exposed, mop with Carolina-style BBQ sauce on both sides. Serve with smoked mac ‘n’ cheese bites and a side of BBQ sauce.
Carolina Style BBQ Spare Ribs
Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 5 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 4 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 4 Tbsp. light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp. dry yellow mustard
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
Carolina Style BBQ Ribs
- 2 racks Omaha Steaks St. Louis spareribs
- Carolina BBQ sauce recipe above
- Dry rub recipe above
- Apple-vinegar spritz recipe above
- 1 cup hickory wood chips soaked in water for 1 hour and drained
Carolina BBQ Sauce
- Preheat grill to 450° F indirect heat (medium-high heat). Place all ingredients in a medium saucepot and whisk together until well incorporated.
- Place saucepot on grill, bring to a boil, and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Re-whisk BBQ sauce when ready to use.
- Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well incorporated.
- Add both ingredients in clean spray bottle and shake until well incorporated.
Carolina Style BBQ Ribs
- Preheat grill to 250°F indirect heat and add drained wood chips directly on top of coals.
- Pat ribs dry on both sides and using a paper towel, remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.
- Liberally season ribs with dry rub on both sides. Allow the ribs to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Place ribs on the grill meaty side up and smoke for 1 hour. After 1 hour, spray ribs with apple-vinegar spritz and continue to smoke for another 30 minutes.
- Flip ribs meaty side down and smoke for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, spritz again and smoke for another 30 minutes.
- Once ribs are tender and rib bones are exposed, mop with BBQ sauce, twice on both sides.
- Serve with Smoked Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites and a side of BBQ sauce.
Smoked Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites
- Standard-size muffin tin(s) to accommodate 18 muffins
- 16 oz. elbow macaroni cooked al dente
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 16 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 12 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese separated
- 2 oz. crumbled smoked gouda cheese
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 4 Tbsp. flour
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup cherry wood chips soaked in water for 1 hour and drained
- Preheat grill to 400°F indirect heat (medium heat) and place a large pot over the heat.
- Add butter and flour to pot and whisk until it creates a blond roux, about 2 minutes.
- Add heavy cream to pot and increase heat to medium-high. Whisking continuously, bring mixture to a slow boil and thicken, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Cook an additional 2 minutes, then remove from grill.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs until well-beaten. Gradually add 1 cup of thickened heavy cream mixture to eggs and whisk continuously, until fully mixed.
- Add the egg mixture back to the pot and whisk until well incorporated.
- Add cheddar cheese, gouda cheese, 4 oz. Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika; whisk until well-incorporated. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if necessary.
- Place cooked elbow macaroni into pot with cheese sauce, and using a rubber spatula, fold all contents together until fully incorporated.
- Spray cooking spray inside of each muffin insert, then place one teaspoon of Italian breadcrumbs on the bottom of each tin, spreading out evenly.
- Fill each insert with mac ‘n’ cheese until level with the tray. (NOTE: There maybe leftover mac ‘n’ cheese.)
- Top each macaroni insert with about 1 Tbsp. of shredded Parmesan cheese.
- Place drained wood chips in grill over hot coals, then place muffin tin(s) on grill. Smoke mac ‘n’ cheese bites about 15 to 18 minutes, until top starts to bubble, brown, and firm up.
- Remove mac ‘n’ cheese bites from grill and cool for about 20 minutes.
- Once mac ‘n’ cheese bites have cooled down and are still a little warm, remove from muffin tin with a butter knife. NOTE: If mac ‘n’ cheese bites don’t remove easily from tins, allow to cool for an additional 5 minutes.
More Chef Rose Recipes:
If you love smoking meats, then get ready for an experience like no other when you smoke Omaha Steaks!