Sweet Orange Basil BBQ Sauce Ribs

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This Sweet Orange Basil BBQ Sauce Rib Recipe isn’t your typical basic backyard barbecue. It has a sweet, spicy kick that pairs beautifully with grilled meats.

Because, let’s face it: after the first week or two of summer, cookouts all start to taste the same. Mix things up a bit! Slather this easy, homemade barbecue sauce on ribs, chicken, even grilled salmon or shrimp.

Sweet Orange Basil BBQ Ribs

Sweet Orange Basil BBQ Sauce Ribs

Living in the Kansas City area as I do, it felt for years like I was the only one who didn’t know how to grill like a pit boss.

The truth is, the grill intimidated me. Figuring out when it was ready, whether the flames were medium or medium-high, and when to use direct or indirect grilling — it was all overwhelming.

The Secret to Tender Ribs

For years, my husband handled the grill duties while I made all of the sides. Now, though? I’ve empowered myself, and not a weekend goes by when you won’t find me manning — er, womaning — the grill.

That’s how I learned that the secret to making tender ribs isn’t throwing them on a low and slow grill. Then they just lose a lot of their juiciness to the flames.

Instead, start them in the oven, wrapped tightly in foil to lock in moisture, and get them off to a good start. After they’ve slowly baked for a couple of hours, baste them with the Sweet Orange Basil BBQ Sauce and transfer them to the grill.

No grill handy? That’s fine — you can continue cooking the ribs in the oven to get that delicious, caramelized flavor by bumping up the heat.

Need Sides?

Swapping side dishes keeps your backyard cookouts feeling new and exciting every time. Here are some of our family’s favorites:

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Sweet Orange Basil BBQ Sauce Ribs

Tender fresh pork ribs slathered with a thick, sweet citrus and herb barbecue sauce that stands out from the crowd.
Print Recipe
Sweet Orange Basil BBQ Sauce Ribs A thick and sweetly spicy homemade sauce on ribs you grill or bake in the oven
Prep Time:20 mins
Total Time:2 hrs 20 mins


For the Ribs

  • 3 lbs. back ribs
  • salt
  • pepper

For the Sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves chopped (about 8)
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cubed


Par-Bake the Ribs

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Position a rack in the center.
  • If needed, remove the membrane from the ribs by lifting a corner with the tip of a knife and slowly pulling it free. Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Place the ribs meaty side up on a baking sheet lined with foil. (Cut the slabs in half if necessary to fit.) Cover tightly with a double-thickness of additional foil. Bake at 300°F for 2 hours.

Make the Sauce

  • While the ribs bake, make the sauce by combining the remaining ingredients (except for butter) in a blender or food processor. Transfer this to a medium sauce pan and simmer for 15 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cubed butter until fully incorporated. Let cool.
  • When the ribs have baked for 2 hours, open the foil and baste both sides with the sauce.

To grill:

  • Grill over medium direct heat for 15-20 minutes basting repeatedly until done. Remove from grill. Let rest 5 minutes then brush with additional sauce and serve.

Oven-only alternative:

  • Remove the ribs from the oven and move the rack 3-4 inches from the top. Baste ribs and broil 3-4 minutes, until the sauce begins to caramelize. Remove from oven. Let rest 5 minutes then brush with additional sauce and serve.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 615kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 830mg | Potassium: 681mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 1259IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 615kcal
Author: Katie Berry

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