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Playing Ryan Scott's Bruleed St. Louis-Cut Grilled Ribs

"Top Chef" Ryan Scott uses a kitchen torch to nail a sweet, crunchy coating on his easy and delicious pork ribs. This recipe works great on a charcoal grill, smoker or oven, and Ryan likes to use hickory or oak wood chips when smoking pork, as they both have a smoky flavor without overpowering the flavor of the ribs.


  • 2 racks St. Louis-style spare ribs
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • Favorite barbecue dry rub, to taste
  • ¾ cups sugar, separated


Serves: 3-4


Prepare the grill for indirect cooking. If using a charcoal grill, add 3 to 4 blocks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal briquettes and adjust the grill vents to bring the temperature to 250˚F.

Remove the membrane from the bone-side of the ribs. Rub the ribs with the mustard, then season both sides liberally with the dry rub. Place the ribs on the smoker or grill. Cover and allow the ribs to smoke until tender, 5 to 5 ½ hours. (Alternately, ribs may be cooked in the oven: Place seasoned ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast, uncovered, in a preheated 250˚F oven until tender, about 4 hours.)

Remove the ribs from the grill (or oven) and set on a wire rack with a sheet pan underneath. Combine ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl to make a paste. Use a brush or silicone baster to coat the top side of the ribs with the sugar paste. Sprinkle remaining sugar on top of the ribs, then use a kitchen torch to brulee the sugar until it begins to bubble, just enough to caramelize but not burn. Let the sugar cool completely into a hard shell; if it doesn't harden, torch for another minute or two. Slice and serve the ribs immediately.