Dad’s Ribs and Mop Sauce

Dads BBQ Spareribs

Here is a recipe I picked up from my dad after I was grown and had my own family. As a child growing up my dad always manned the grill and I would ask him what he seasoned the ribs with, and what was that stuff he kept using a rag to wet the ribs with? He would always answer and say, “it’s a secret, and if I told you I’d have to kill you, and I love you too much to do that.” I enjoyed spending time with my dad while he was cooking barbeque! Well, one day he came by after I spent $350 on a horizontal smoker from Home Depot and he gave me that secret recipe and he didn’t kill me. Now I’m sharing it with you.


1 Cup firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Garlic
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Paprika
2 Tbsp Granulated Onion
1 Tbsp Ground Mustard
1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Ground Oregano

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container, makes 3 cups. I like to use St. Louis style ribs, which are meaty. Wash the slabs, remove the membrane on the bone side of each slab. Sprinkle generously with Dads Rub. Allow ribs to sit for at least 2 hours before cooking. I prefer to allow them to rest in the fridge overnight.

dads rub


2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar (Heinz)
1/2 Cup White Vinegar (Heinz)
1/2 Cup Apple Juice
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Tbsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tsp Sweet Paprika

Place all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. I prefer to make this the same time I season the ribs and allow it to cool overnight to room temperature. Baste ribs every hour during cooking.

dads mop


I use the indirect cooking method for these. Place ribs on the cool side of the grill with the side containing the coals between 250 to 300 degrees. Use a rib rack if your grill area is not large enough for the slabs of ribs to all fit laying flat. Cook ribs for 5 to 6 hours or until the bones begin to protrude past the meat. Baste every hour with the mop sauce. When ready, remove and wrap each slab in heavy foil, seal tightly and place back on the cool side for another 30 minutes. After that time you can sauce and place on the hot side of the grill to caramelize the sauce, or allow the ribs to rest for 15 minutes and then sauce and serve.

dads cook

Happy Barbequing!



About Pigskin Barbeque 80 Articles
Just a regular guy who loves to barbeque. Married father of two. I developed a love for grilling as a child watching my dad grill. My love for BBQ, using wood and the "low & slow" method came after I purchased my first horizontal smoker in my 20's.


  1. When you wrap the ribs do you add anything like apple juice or butter or just wrap them up the way they come off the grill?

    • My dad always avoided adding anything to the ribs in the foil because you’re basting them every hour. The foil portion is to tenderize them a little bit.
      It’s not meant to mimic the 3-2-1 method.

  2. could you use a spray bottle with the mop sauce? or is it too thick–also should i put pan of water under ribs-and keep the mop sauce right on the grill during grilling-so it reduces-to thick sauce thanks–im trying this recipe this weekend-

    • The Mop Sauce can be used in a spray bottle but it may clog the sprayer from the pepper, I’m not sure because I never tried a spray bottle.
      A pan of water under the ribs or in the grill next to them is always a good thing because it helps keep the cooking chamber humid and moist during the cooking process.
      You don’t want the mop sauce on the grill and you don’t want it thick, its for basting and adding flavor to the meat.
      Let me know how things turned out for you.

  3. Made your dads ribs yesterday they are awesome. Looking forward to having them again in a few weeks. I did them low and slow on the gas grill for 7.5 hours. Very tender and delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • James, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe and you came back to share that fact. It make me feel good knowing people are enjoying the recipes I share.

      So tell me did you cook spare ribs or baby backs?

      • They were baby back ribs. Kept the temp around 225-250 and so tender. Best rib recipe by far. The entire family enjoyed them. Thanks again.

  4. A “Big-As-Texas” THANKS for sharing your Dad’s rub and mop sauce recipes with all of us. Fantastic smoky spare ribs! Do you have a 5 Star barbecue sauce recipe to share, as well?

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