Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs - 142a

This recipe was given to me by Dave Riley. Yes, that Dave Riley as in the same name as the ad on the side of this page and the newest sponsor of Grillin’ Fools. We’ve said time and time again that we won’t promote anything we don’t absolutely believe in. I was a believer when my Mother in Law made pork chops for Sunday dinner with their All Purpose Seasoning many years ago (and continues to do so). Last night, I sped right past believer and went straight to a devotee when I made this recipe. An acolyte if you will. It was so incredibly simple that I almost don’t want to put it on the site, but it is also so incredibly good that I had to.

Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs Ingredients:

1 slab spare ribs, membrane removed
Riley’s Cajun Seasoning
2 cups brown sugar, reserved for later

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The short, but sweet (and spicy) ingredients list

Riley’s is available at Sam’s and Schnuck’s in Missouri, Illinois and southern Iowa. They will soon be in Dierberg’s and Shop N Save as well. You can also get their seasoning online including their Garlic Pepper that is not in the stores yet. I will have a future post with that stuff because it is great too! Please use their products as supporting them is in fact supporting us as well because they put the Grillin’ in Grillin’ Fools. Without the good people like the Riley’s we could’t afford to keep the site up and thus we’d be garden variety fools.

Now back to this recipe.

Remove the membrane off the bone side of the ribs and then coat it heavily with the Cajun Seasoning. Lay it on thick:

Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs - 032
Don’t scrimp on the rub

Flip over and repeat:

Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs - 033

If you are worried that the ribs will be too spicy, don’t sweat it. HAHAHA! See what I did there? Sweat? Trust me, it won’t be that spicy. Actually not hot at all. More on this later.

Prepare the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with coals and smoke wood (in this case cherry wood) on one side and nothing on the other. For this grill, coals on the bottom and a place setter between the meat and the fire inside my Char-Griller Akorn, Kamado style grill. Target internal temperature of the grill is 250:

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On the grill

Notice the white stuff in the background and flakes on the meat? That would be a glorious snow storm:

Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs - 096 - Snowstorm
Oh, what a glorious day!

Other, normal people, when the weathercasters predict snowmageddon, stock up on milk, bread and eggs. I have no idea why French toast is so popular when it snows. Me? I buy ribs and beer!

Close the lid for two hours:

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My absolute favorite time to grill

After two hours the ribs have become a wonderful golden brown and the rub is now stuck tight to the meat:

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Two hours of Cherry Smoke

That little chunk off to the side was part of the flap at the end of the ribs. I decided to make it a little pitmaster’s prerogative and do some quality control. The quality was marvelous.

Take the ribs inside at this point and put on two sheets of aluminum foil and get that brown sugar out:

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Ready for the foil and the sugar

Make sure you use two sheets of foil because if you poke a hole in the bottom the best part of this recipe will be lost.

Lay the ribs meat side up and give them a thick layer of brown sugar (about 3/4 cup of sugar):

Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs - 122
Slathered with Sugar

Pat the sugar down so it sticks to the meat and then flip them over to the bone side and repeat with another 3/4 cup of brown sugar:

Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs - 123
Snow falling outside, sugar falling inside
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Mountains of Sugar

I added the rest of the sugar to the bone side and closed up the foil:

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Rats, Foiled Again!?!

Put the foiled ribs back on the grill for 2.5-3 hours at 250-300. Don’t worry if the temperature spikes a little. The foil and the fat and the sugar will keep the ribs from drying out.

After 2.5-3 hours remove the foiled ribs from the grill and take a look:

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Foil, and meat pulled back from the bones

This is why the ribs were bone side up and extra brown sugar added:

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Pool of pork, sugar and spicy goodness!

That pooled liquid sugar, combined with the fat that rendered out of the meat and the heat of the cajun seasoning is your ticket to flavor town, my friend.

But are they done? Let’s check the bones:

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I’d give that a resounding yes.

Now for what brings this whole recipe together into the genius that it is. Slice the ribs and then spoon that wonderful sauce from the bottom of the foil over them:

Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs - 154
Plated with that gooey glaze

The sauce is sweet and thick with just a little heat to it and perfectly balances the spiciness of the Cajun Seasoning. I was floored at how terrific these ribs were. I’m doing these for a crowd soon. They are the perfect ribs for a big crew as they are extremely simple leaving time to prep for the party and enjoy company of your guests when they arrive.

If you have any questions about the foiled ribs above please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs
Recipe type: Ribs
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
Ribs coated with cajun seasoning, smoked, slathered in brown sugar and foiled
  • 1 slab spare ribs, membrane removed
  • Riley's Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 cups brown sugar, divided and reserved for later
  1. Skin the ribs
  2. Coat the bone side with the Riley's Cajun Seasoning
  3. Flip over and coat the meat side
  4. Prepare the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
  5. Target temperature inside the grill is 200-250
  6. Place the ribs on the side with no heat and close the lid for two hours
  7. Remove from the heat and place meat side up on two large sheets of aluminum foil
  8. Cover the meat side with ¾ cup of brown sugar, spreading evenly across ribs
  9. Pat the sugar down to make sure it sticks and flip the ribs over
  10. Cover the bone side with the rest of the brown sugar
  11. Fold the foil up into a pouch and return the ribs to the grill for 2.5-3 hours
  12. Remove the foiled ribs from the grill
  13. Remove the ribs from the foil, reserving the sauce
  14. Slice the ribs and drizzle the sauce over them or put in a bowl for a dipping sauce
  15. Serve while the sauce is still warm
And one final picture – a collage of the process:

Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas


https://t.co/lVWgniik3V - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Seems I'm on a chicken wing kick (see my last post) and love this pic. Looks like a Christ… https://t.co/zPqEzVrRVX https://t.co/ecvv1iThkU - 10 hours ago
Scott Thomas

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I made your recipe for the Sweet Heat Cajun Ribs on Sunday May 26. I followed your recipe exactly and the outcome was delicious! That one slab (I had others slow smoked with sauce) was the hit of the BBQ.

Thank you so much for all that you do to help educate and inform us on gilling techniques and new recipes.



Glad they came out well! They are a staple around here!


I just finished eating ribs cooked with this recipe.I would have to say that they are the best ribs I have ever cooked,and one of the top five I have ever ate.The brown sugar sauce made the meat moist,and was a real sweet(almost molasses like) addition to the flavor.



I didn’t have high hopes for those ribs. I figured they would be OK, maybe even good, but I never expected them to be that fantastic! Glad you enjoyed them…


I tried this recipe out a couple weeks back for my wife’s family and it was amazing, probably in the top 5 ribs I’ve ever eaten. I paired the ribs with the BBQ Baked Beans, another personal favorite. The family always has kind things to say about my grilling. But this time, they were totally speechless!
It took 3 different stores to find Cajun seasoning, but it was well worth it (Dierberg’s is the best).
Thanks for the great recipe, keep it up!



Glad to hear they were such a hit. Did you get Riley’s at Dierberg’s? I thought they were still negotiating. I know they carry it at Schnuck’s and Sam’s….


I could not find Riley’s or an off brand for that matter at my local Schnuck’s (Maryland Heights). Finally, I ended up at Dierberg’s which also did not have Riley’s, but the substitute looked good and ended up doing just fine.
I guarantee that I’ll be making these ribs again, so next time hopefully I can find Riley’s. I didn’t check Sam’s, so I’ll have to look for it next time I’m there.
Thanks again,

By the way, your Brown Sugar sauce in the picture is much brighter red than mine was. I wouldn’t imagine that the cajun seasoning has anything to do with that. Any other thoughts?

Schnuck’s might only have the regular seasoning. You can get the Cajun at Sam’s. Or you can order from them online. As far as the red in the sauce, I’m guessing there is a lot of paprika in the rub and probably red pepper. Otherwise, I have no idea.

I have to say I made these ribs 2 weeks ago and doing them again for family and friends as I am writing this, this recipe is so damn good!!!!! These are the best ribs I have ever smoked!!!! Thanks for the recipe you make a lot of us back yard bbq’rs look like were pro’s…..



Glad to hear you like them so much. I was as floored as you are. I’ve made them more than any other rib recipe since I made them the first time in the winter!


The recipe calls for one slab, but I assume you can do several at once (just bump up the amount of brown sugar)? Also, will baby back ribs work just as well as spare ribs? If so, are any changes needed to the recipe (temperature, time, etc.)? Thanks!



Absolutely you can up the ingredients for more slabs. If doing baby backs, I would cut the times down by about 25-33%, unless the BBR’s are uber thick. Other than that, same process…


If I don’t have a place setter for my weber charcoal grill, does it change the way I cook the ribs?



Put the coals on one side, ribs on the other on the kettle…


I made these last weekend and they were great! This is my new go to way for ribs.


Hi Scott

Very hot here in Broome WA but I cook ribs with your super easy recipe. Hope it come out very good coz it’s still in grill
This is all I can say is the most easiest way to cook the ribs n if it’s come terrific, I will put this on my menu for my food van business
Will let you know but I’m truly sure it will be amazing
Thankyou heaps


So how did they come out, Marg?




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