How to Marinate Ribs

A marinade is a wet mixture of herbs, oil and vinegar that is used to flavor vegetables or meat. Although most ingredients in a marinade don’t penetrate deep into the surface, the flavor adheres to the surface. There are hundreds of marinade recipes for ribs; however, these spicy and sweet versions are likely to bring out the best in short ribs, St. Louis style ribs and spare ribs.

Steakhouse Marinade

1 cup (0.2l) vegetable oil

1/2 cup (118ml) cider vinegar

3 tbsp. (35g) packed brown sugar

1 tbsp. (15ml) soy sauce

1 tbsp. (15ml) Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. (9.3g) garlic powder

1/2 tsp. (1.2g) onion powder

1/2 tsp. (3g) kosher salt

Asian-Inspired Marinade

1 cup (0.2l) honey

1/3 cup (79ml) soy sauce

3 tbsp. (45ml) sherry

2 tsp. (6.2g) garlic powder

1/2 tsp. (0.9g) crushed red pepper

Coffee-Molasses Marinade

1 cup (0.2l) strong coffee

1 cup red onion

1/2 cup (118ml) molasses

1/2 cup (118ml) red wine vinegar

1/4 cup (59ml) Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. (15ml) Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup (59ml) soy sauce

1 tbsp. (15ml) hot sauce

2 tbsp. shallot

Steakhouse Rib Marinade
Defrost your ribs completely. Place them in the refrigerator two to four days before your plan to cook them. The amount of defrosting time is commensurate with the size of the rack.

Turn the ribs on their front side. Slice the thin membrane at the back and pull it off to make it more tender and allow the marinade to penetrate a little further.

Mix your marinade one day in advance. Ideally, with a valuable piece of meat, like ribs, you want to marinate for one day to 12 hours. It takes salt 24 hours to penetrate the meat to one inch (2.5cm) deep.[1]
The rest of the ingredients are mainly used as a flavorful surface treatment.

Double your recipe if you have more than five lbs. of ribs.

Reserve leftover marinade to baste with during the cooking process.

Whisk together the vegetable oil, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire, garlic powder, onion and salt in a large container. If you don’t have anything that is big enough to fit your rack, pour it into a very large plastic bag or cut the ribs in half and place them in two different containers.

Place the ribs in the marinade. Turn them over a few times. Stick the container in the fridge.

Baste the ribs every three hours with a basting brush. Use the liquid at the bottom of the bag or container. Turn the ribs instead, if the ribs aren’t submerged in the liquid.

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator one hour before they go into the oven or on the barbeque. Discard the remaining liquid after this point.

Bake for two hours at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 Celsius) wrapped in aluminum foil. Then continue cooking at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius) for 45 minutes uncovered.[2]

Asian Rib Marinade
Defrost your ribs completely. Peel off the membrane from the back of the ribs to help the marinade.

Mix the honey, soy sauce, sherry garlic powder and red pepper three to 12 hours before you cook your ribs. Heat them on medium heat on the stove to combine.

Remove the marinade from the burner. Allow it to cool completely.

Set your ribs in one or two containers, depending upon the size of the rack. This marinade recipe is for four lbs. of ribs.

Pour the cooled marinade over the ribs. Turn them and ensure they are completely coated. If the marinade doesn’t cover your rack, you will need to turn the ribs in the refrigerator every hour.

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator one hour before you cook them. Discard excess marinade. Lift the ribs from the container so that they can drip dry. Allowing the ribs to dry a little is especially important if you are grilling them uncovered, since the wet marinade will cause flare-ups.

Barbeque, oven-bake or grill your ribs. Serve sesame seeds and green onions.[3]

Coffee-Molasses Marinade
Defrost your ribs. Peel back the membrane on the back of the ribs to expose the meat.

Chop the onion and shallot for the marinade. Make the coffee.

Whisk together the coffee, onion, molasses, red wine vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Tabasco and shallot. This is for 5 lbs. of ribs. Reserve one cup of marinade per batch.

Set the ribs in a large container 12 hours before you cook them. Coat them completely with the marinade. Cover them and place them in the refrigerator. Baste or turn them every few hours.

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator one hour before you start cooking them. Allow excess marinade to drip off the ribs.

Grill, barbeque or oven bake the ribs. Baste every 20 minutes with the reserved marinade.[4]

You can replace the honey in the Asian marinade with hoisin sauce.

Cover the ribs with aluminum foil for the majority of the time as you cook your ribs. Place them on direct heat during the last 10 to 20 minutes of the cooking process to make them crispier.

Ribs are also often made with a dry rub instead of a wet marinade.

Add fresh pineapple juice to any marinade to help tenderize the meat. It contains an enzyme that softens the meat.

Things You’ll Need



Large plastic bag/container

Basting brush





Sources and Citations
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