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Origin: Spain

This is a great recipe for some Spanish Barbeque Ribs, which are known as Costillas in Spain; if you study Spanish abroad, you would know is the Spanish word for ribs. These ribs taste just as good cooked under a grill as they do on a barbecue so don't worry if you haven't got one, as you can still enjoy this great Spanish dish.

Spanish Barbecue Ribs

The recipe for the barbecue sauce may seem a little strange with its combination of hot sauce, soy sauce and sugar, but once mixed together it tastes delicious. If you really want to lock in the flavour, you could marinate the ribs in the sauce mixture overnight in the fridge.

It may also seem a little strange that ribs, which are served across the world, from China to America, has come up on a website about Spanish food. Well the Spanish also love their ribs and these barbecue ribs are a favourite in tapas bars across the peninsular. Sauces and styles of cooking ribs in Spain also varies and along with roast ribs, this is one of the best ways of cooking them. The less traditional taste of this barbecue sauce also means that it is a perfect way to try some Spanish food and please some of the more fussy eaters at the same time!

When you visit Spain, you will probably see this dish served in Spanish tapas bar as a tapa, however, barbecue ribs also make a great main meal too when accompanied by rice or salad. Furthermore, you can make this recipes using pork ribs, as it is suggested in our recipe below, or with beef ribs.

There are a number of small tips that will ensure that you produce this Spanish dish to perfection. If you want to make a truly Spanish dish, then you could try using some of the Spanish sherries, in particular those from Jerez. If you want a slighty sweeter taste to tour barbecue ribs, you can always replace the sweet sherry with some freshly squeezd orange juice. Tabasco sauce, if you are not familiar with it, is very hot so make sure you don't over do it! There's nothing worse than spending an hour making some delicious ribs to find out that they are too hot to eat. Alternatively, if you love your spice, you could grade your ribs by adding more sauce to the mixture each time you dip a rib and then dare your friends to try the hottest one - just make sure you have enough glasses of water to cool your mouths down!

When cooking with a barbecue, make sure that the meat is cooked through by testing a piece. Just because it is charred on the outside does not necessarily mean that it is cooked on the inside. These Spanish barbecue ribs are extremely delicious when they have just come off the barbecue and are still hot, but they can still be eaten cold if you have some left over.

Costillas | Spanish Barbecue Ribs


  • 1 sheet of pork ribs (around 1½ lbs)
  • 6 tbsps sweet oloroso sherry
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps seasoned plain flour (sometimescalled all-purpose flour)
  • Some coarse sea salt
  • Serves 6 - 8 people


  • Separate the ribs and then cut each rib in half along the width using a meat cleaver of very heavy knife. Aim to make around 30 pieces of rib.
  • Mix the tomato purée, sherry, Tabasco sauce, soy sauce and the sugar in a mixing bowl. Season with around half a teaspoon of salt.
  • Put the seasoned flour into plastic bag (without holes!) and then add the ribs. Shake the bad to coat the ribs in the flour.
  • Take each rib and dip into the sauce mixture.
  • Cook on a very hot barbecue or under a grill for around 30-40 minutes, turning occassionally. Cook them until they are cooked through and there are a little charred.
  • Sprinkle with salt and serve. Make sure you provide napkins as they can be messy to eat!