Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here


Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Barbecue Ribs and Baked Beans Recipe

Excerpted from ‘Southern and Smoked: Cajun Cooking Through the Seasons’ by Jarred I. Zeringue

spinner image tongs holding long thing of ribs
Denny Culbert and Joseph Vidrine

Serves 6

Every Mother’s Day, my family holds a barbecue and gives the ladies the day off. In the city, restaurants are busy with families taking mothers out, but in the country, it’s a great day for a cookout. Always on the menu were ribs, Wayne Jacob’s smoked sausage and hot sausage, chicken, baked beans, potato salad, tomato cucumber salad and garlic bread.

People are often intimidated by ribs because they do not have the patience to let them cook slowly. To help make this recipe simpler, I start with the same rub/seasoning for the ribs, baked beans and sauce and prepare the rub in advance. The night before your barbecue, soak your navy beans in water to cut down on the cooking time.

Tip: The taste of the ribs improves if the rub is applied the day before and the ribs are allowed to marinate in the flavors. While you are grilling, throw a couple pounds of sausages on the grill and baste with sauce.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now


Ingredients and Directions

Rib Rub

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ cup Circle Z Seasoning Mix (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Makes about 3 cups.


  • 6 slices bacon, chopped (I like Wayne Jacob’s from LaPlace, Louisiana)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup rib rub mixture
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 pound navy beans, soaked overnight then drained

In a 6-quart oven-safe pot, render chopped bacon over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add rib rub and tomato paste, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes to allow the paste to caramelize and the spices to bloom. Add the drained beans to the pot. Stir in 3 quarts of warm water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and place the covered pot in a 350°F oven. Bake for 2 hours while you prepare the ribs.

Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup rib rub mix
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed

In a 3-quart pot, sauté onion in butter until caramelized. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until incorporated and bubbling. Add 3 cups water and simmer for about 30 minutes until thick. Makes 1 quart.


  • 2 whole racks baby back pork ribs
  • 1½ cups rib rub
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups homemade barbecue sauce

Preheat grill to about 400°F. Wash ribs and pat dry. Remove the membrane from the bone side and cover thoroughly with rib rub. Transfer to a hot grill and caramelize ribs about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Baste with apple cider vinegar and then rotate ribs to caramelize the other side. Remove ribs from the grill, baste once more and wrap with foil. Reduce the heat of the grill to about 250 degrees or move ribs so that they cook over indirect heat. Allow ribs to cook undisturbed for 60 to 90 minutes, depending on how tender you like them. Remove ribs from the foil and brush on barbecue sauce. Return to the grill for another 10 minutes to caramelize the sauce.

Circle Z Seasoning Mix

After years of both training cooks in my restaurants and writing recipes, I decided to make a go-to spice mix for consistency and predictability. It is very simple and will cut a few steps out of your cooking process. It consists of six ingredients:

  • 1 part kosher salt
  • 1 part black pepper
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • ¼ part cayenne pepper
  • ¼ part ground bay leaf

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.


Try More Grilling Recipes

Black Bean Quinoa Burger with Baby Artichoke and Fingerling Potato Fries from Southern Cooking, Global Flavors by Kenny Gilbert and Nan Kavanaugh

Summer BBQ Grilled Scallops and Corn from Chiles and Smoke: BBQ, Grilling, and Other Fire-Friendly Recipes with Spice and Flavor by Brad Prose

Grilled Chicken with Apricots, Red Onion + Basil from Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit by Abra Berens

Citrus and Spice Costillitas from Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling by Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral 

Main Grilling Article

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?