Baby Back Ribs with Blackberry BBQ Sauce

If you like ribs, you'll love these baby back ribs with blackberry BBQ sauce. The sauce has a sweet, smoky and spicy flavor that coats the tender ribs at the last minute, making them ... yes, finger-licking good!

Jump to Recipe (or scroll for photos and riveting information...)
Advertisement - Continue Below
Baby Back ribs with blackberry BBQ sauce on a wooden cutting board with a few plackberries and scallions around.

Delicious Baby Back Ribs

When you get ribs just right, there’s nothing quite like them. I like my baby back ribs to be tender enough to fall away from the bone when you cut or bite into them, but not so sloppy that you can’t even pick the bone up. Good news – it’s really very simple to achieve this. This recipe for baby back ribs with blackberry bbq sauce takes about two and a half hours, but it’s very, very easy.

Hands pulling the membrane off the back of a rack of baby back ribs.

How to Prepare Baby Back Ribs

Start by preparing the baby back ribs. When you get the ribs home, look for the membrane on the back of the ribs. Although the membrane is barely noticeable when the ribs are raw, when cooked it makes the ribs a little tougher and also prevents flavor absorption. So, it’s best to take it off. Use a knife to pry up the edge of the membrane (sometimes this is easier part way down the ribs) and then use a paper towel to get a grip on the membrane and pull it away from the ribs.  

Two racks of spice-rubbed baby back ribs on a baking sheet.

Spice Rub for Baby Back Ribs

A simple spice rub on the ribs helps give it flavor from the onset of cooking. You can rub this on the ribs ahead of time if you like, storing the rubbed ribs in the refrigerator overnight, or do this right before it goes into the oven. Then, place the ribs on a large baking sheet, wrap tightly with foil and bake at 300˚F for 2 hours. That gives you plenty of time to make the BBQ sauce.

Ingredients for blackberry BBQ sauce on a cutting board - apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, blackberries, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and onion.

BBQ Sauce for Baby Back Ribs

This blackberry BBQ sauce is delicious on ribs. The blackberries breakdown and leave you with a lumpy sauce that you can slather all over the ribs. I use a little chipotle pepper in adobo in this sauce, but you can substitute ketchup (2 tablespoons) if you prefer something less spicy. 

Blackberry BBQ sauce in a stainless steel saucepan with a wooden spoon lifting out of the pan.

Blackberry BBQ Sauce

Let the sauce simmer on the stovetop for 20 to 30 minutes to thicken. If you really wanted to, you could put the reduced sauce into a blender or chopper and make it completely smooth, but I like the chunky blackberries and how they gather in the crevices of the ribs when you slather it on.

A small jar of blackberry BBQ sauce on a countertop with a purple kitchen towel, a basting brush and a few blackberries.


Hands brushing blackberry BBQ sauce onto a cooked rack of ribs.

Finishing the Ribs

Once the ribs have cooked at 300˚F for 2 hours, the meat should be tender. You can poke your paring knife between the bones to test the tenderness. Cover both sides of the ribs with the blackberry bbq sauce and then decide how you are going to proceed – broil, grill or bake. If you plan on broiling the ribs, drain away the fat from the baking pan before you do that so that the grease doesn’t spit up towards your broiling elements. The blackberry bbq sauce will burn easily if you don’t pay attention, so stick around while you’re broiling or grilling – it’s only 5 minutes or so.

Two racks of baby back ribs with blackberry BBQ sauce on a cutting board - one of the racks cut in half.

How to Serve Baby Back Ribs

Then cut the ribs into two- to three-rib sections and stack on a serving plate for people to grab. You could serve this with coleslaw, potato salad, or any number of grilling side dishes. This grilled parmesan corn and zucchini is a favorite of mine. 

A plate with baby back ribs and coleslaw, with a purple napkin.

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
7 Day Menu Planner: Summer Meals

Summertime is a beautiful time of year for fresh produce of all kinds. A cook should feel like a kid...View Technique

Advertisement - Continue Below

Baby Back Ribs with Blackberry BBQ Sauce

  • Prep Time: 5 m
  • Cook Time: 2 h 30 m
  • Total Time: 2 h 35 m
  • Servings:
    to 4 people


  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Blackberry BBQ Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • ½ teaspoon grated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo chopped (or ketchup)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon Worcesteshire sauce


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300˚F.
  2. Lay the ribs down, backbone side up. Remove the tough membrane on the back of the ribs by pulling it off in a single sheet.
  3. Combine the smoked paprika, oregano, coriander, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the ribs and transfer to a large baking sheet, covering with foil.
  4. Bake the ribs at 300˚F for 2 hours.
  5. While the ribs are cooking, make the blackberry BBQ sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger for just a couple of minutes. Then, add all the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes until thick, stirring to break down the berries. Set aside.
  6. When the ribs are done, remove the foil. Brush some sauce on the ribs and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, basting with more sauce every 10 minutes or so until the sauce is sticky on the ribs. Alternatively, grill the ribs over a medium grill, turning and basting with the sauce OR broil for 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Cut the ribs between the bones and serve with additional sauce.
Advertisement - Continue Below
Advertisement - Continue Below
Advertisement - Continue Below

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *