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Ribs with BBQ Apple Sauce

Ribs with BBQ Apple Sauce

We all know that Paleo isn’t about huge chunks of meat all the time. We know it’s not about re-creating some mythical “caveman lifestyle” or hauling home raw bison shanks to roast on a stick and tear into with your bare hands.

But sometimes, you just do want that primal, primitive satisfaction of treating your “tribe” to a big juicy piece of meat, roasted to savory perfection and sizzling with fat. And there’s nothing wrong with that – one of the amazing things about Paleo is that you can indulge that urge with no guilt whatsoever. So if you need to scratch that itch for a regular cave-feast, here’s a recipe to do just that: fatty ribs slathered with a spicy-sweet sauce and slow-roasted to a turn before they’re finished off with a crispy outside on the grill. No matter what your food buttons are, this is the recipe to push them.

To maximize the flavor, I like to marinate my ribs for about a day before cooking them. I’ve included a rub recipe here to do just that, but technically, this is optional; if you’re working on a tight schedule, just the Apple BBQ sauce will give you absolutely delicious ribs. And in fact, the sauce will even give you more than you need for the ribs, so you can serve it as a dip for fries, or freeze it to pull out the next time you want to make something delicious in a hurry.

To make the sauce, you’ll want to have some homemade ketchup and some applesauce on hand; the applesauce recipe from the cookbook or this one from the site are both good to use. If you don’t have these handy, the sauce will take a little longer to pull together, so this might be a good weekend project for a slow Sunday afternoon when you take your time and really enjoy the cooking process. Then you get double the pleasure (the cooking and the eating), plus an extra stock of Paleo condiments to use for your next project.

Ribs with BBQ Apple Sauce Recipe

Servings SERVES: 4Preparation time PREP: 25 min. + 12hCooking time COOK: 3h30min.


Protein: 114g / %

Carbs: 111g / %

Fat: 175g / %

Values are per portion. These are for information only & are not meant to be exact calculations.


  • 5 to 6 lbs. baby back pork ribs; (membrane removed);
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder;
  • 2 tbsp. paprika;
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano;
  • 2 tsp. ground mustard;
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

BBQ Apple Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups homemade ketchup;
  • 1 cup applesauce;
  • 1/2 onion, minced;
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced;
  • 3 tbsp. clarified butter;
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar;
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder;
  • 1 tbsp. paprika;
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
Rib preparation


  1. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the rub: chili powder, paprika, dried oregano, ground mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Evenly coat both sides of the ribs with the spice rub and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 250 F.
  4. Put the ribs on a baking sheet and cook for 1 ½ hours.
  5. While the ribs are cooking, get busy making the apple BBQ sauce.
  6. Warm the clarified butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, and cook the onion and garlic until soft.
  7. Then add the apple cider vinegar, ketchup, applesauce, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Let this simmer for 30 minutes.
  9. Baste the ribs with the sauce and let them continue cooking for another 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes on each side with the sauce.
  10. When the ribs are cooked, take them out of the oven.
  11. Preheat your broiler or grill.
  12. Broil or grill the ribs 5 minutes on each side and serve. You can baste with the sauce before you broil or grill if you want more sauce on your ribs.
Photo of Ashley Noël

Hi I’m Ashley, I’m an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach

Get coaching around:

  • transitioning to a Paleo diet
  • reaching your fitness goals
  • getting through those hurdles
    • limiting sugar, gluten, carbs
    • eating out
  • overall life satisfaction

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