Barbecue Ribs – Cheater’s Bourbon Brined Pork Ribs

They say that cheaters never prosper, that slow and steady wins the race, that hard work and tenacity is the only way to succeed in life. History would disagree; trickery and deception will often beat perseverance, take the Greeks at Troy for instance. After sieging the city for 10 years they found that a hollow wooden horse and a little trickery will have you in the castle gates and killing people in their beds, rather than facing their army head on. Sun Tzu even stated, and I paraphrase, that all war is about deception.

It’s not just warriors that cheat to get the better of others, politicians and sporting heroes do too. Politicians lie and give promises that they don’t intend to keep to get elected and when even that fails, gerrymandering ensures that only the right people fall within one’s constituency (I’m looking at you Bjelke-Petersen). Sporting heroes do it all the time; doping, fixing, deflating, greasing and in ice skating, kneecapping. Yes, many are caught, but there may be countless more that aren’t.

The benefits outweigh the risks, which is why when I invite people over for slow cooked, smoky barbecue ribs I like to make shortcuts. Why slave over a hot smoker when I can put it on, walk away and drink beer and play PlayStation? Here’s my easy way to make delicious, melt in your mouth pork ribs and take a load off with The Culinary Barbarian’s, BBQ Cheaters Bourbon Brined Pork Ribs.

Things you will need:

Extra-large ovenbag

Slowcooker/ crock pot

Twist ties, clothes pegs or bagseals

Large sealable plastic tub


1 rack of pork spare ribs (approximately 1.5 kg)


3 tbsp salt

3 garlic cloves, crushed

¼ cup bourbon

1 tbsp brown sugar

½ litres water

Rib Rub:

2tbsp smoked paprika

1tbsp sweet paprika

1tsp dry mustard powder

1tsp black pepper

1tsp white pepper

½tsp chilli flakes

2tsp table salt

2tsp onion powder

2tsp garlic powder

1tbsp brown sugar

½tsp ground cinnamon

½tsp allspice

BBQ Sauce:

1 red capsicum

1 onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves

400g can crushed tomatoes

1tsp hot-sauce (store bought, or you can check out my hot sauce recipe on the blog)

¼ cup golden syrup

1 chicken stock cube

60ml bourbon

1 tsp rib rub mix (above)


  1. Pat dry the ribs and remove the thin membrane from the rib side of the meat by lifting it with a dry rag and pulling firmly.
  2. In a large plastic tub, dissolve the salt and sugar in a small amount of hot water and top up with cold. Pour in the bourbon and the garlic and stir well. Place the rack of ribs into the brine and seal the tub. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Fill the crock pot/ slow cooker with boiling water and set to low heat. Remove the ribs from the brine and pat dry. Place the ribs into an extra-large oven bag and squeeze out the air. Twist shut and seal with bag clips, twist ties or pegs. Submerge the ribs into the water, ensuring the end of the bag and the clips are out of the water, hanging over the side of the crock pot and close the lid. After 4 hours, carefully vent the bag to remove the excess steam, reseal and cook for a further 4 hours. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the bag.
  4. Dry Rub: Mix the dry rub ingredients in a large bowl until sell combined and the rub is consistent. This will look like a lot of spice mix, but you will use it all.
  5. BBQ Sauce: Blister the skin of the capsicum over the gas of the stove. If you don’t have a gas stove, score the capsicum skin with a paring knife and scold the capsicum with boiling water to loosen the skin and peel off. Destem and seed the capsicum and finely dice. In a saucepan, sauté the onions, garlic and capsicum until translucent. Add the canned tomatoes and reduce the liquid until the tomatoes begin to scorch, stirring constantly. Add the bourbon, stock, 1tsp rib rub and golden syrup and simmer until the sauce darkens a little. Remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 220°C
  6. Once the ribs have cooled, place the ribs on a sheet of baking paper on an oven tray. Coat the ribs top and bottom with a thick coat of the rib rub and place into the oven until the coating crisps and caramelises. About 15-20 min. Alternatively, instead of oven roasting, fire up the grill and finish with some flame.
  7. Cut between the ribs and serve with mashed potatoes, and a large dollop of barbeque sauce.