Serves 4

We are big fans of a “lekker braai”, like any typical South African should be, and we love to “kuier” around a fire in winter.

We came across this recipe by Jan Braai, South Africa’s very own braai guru and founder of National Braai Day (24 September) and have adapted a few things here and there to adjust it to our taste.

According to Jan, there are three reasons why pork spare ribs taste so great. First, their relatively high fat content which bastes and flavours the meat as it braais; secondly, the high bone-to-meat ratio which means that the bones impart further flavour to the meat as they heat up during the braai; thirdly, that sweet and sticky sauce we usually enjoy with them.

But marinades and sauces that contain sugar burn easily, so there are two things that can go wrong when you braai spare ribs:

  1. You remove them from the fire when you think the marinade is starting to burn, but then find the insides still raw.
  2. You braai them until the inside is done, but by that stage the marinade is burnt.

There is a very easy way to get around these two problems, which is to braai first and marinade later. Don’t marinade or baste the ribs, just braai them and remove them from the fire about 5 minutes before they are ready. Generously smother them in the sauce, then return them to the fire and complete the braai. The ribs will be properly cooked inside and your sauce will be nicely glazed without being burnt. The honey adds a unique flavour to this recipe but you could also substitute it with golden syrup (although we prefer the honey).


1.5 kg pork spare ribs

½ cup honey

½ cup tomato sauce

25 ml apple juice

½ tot soy sauce

½ tot paprika

A dash or three of Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the sauce: Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl. If there is anything else you wish to add to the sauce, do so.
  2. Braai the whole spare ribs over medium heat for 30 minutes until almost done.
  3. Remove the ribs from the fire and place on a cutting board. Cut into single ribs.
  4. Baste the ribs with the sauce and coat them well. Leave for a minute or three so that the exposed, meaty parts of the ribs can bond with and absorb the sauce.
  5. Braai the basted ribs for between 2 and 10 minutes, depending on the doneness of the meat, until all the sauce is warm and glazed.

The best wine to serve with these sticky pork spare ribs, is La Vierge Anthelia Shiraz