harissa buttermilk baby back ribs

Harissa Buttermilk Baby Back Ribs

Buttermilk Uses

Baby back ribs. Yep, simply delicious. Buttermilk, yep, gonna make these baby back ribs even more fabulous. Ok, I love buttermilk. And, I use buttermilk in so many cooking recipes. And, you’re gonna love buttermilk as a marinade in these harissa buttermilk baby back ribs. 

I’m not big on drinking buttermilk straight, but buttermilk is so great for lots of recipes. And, don’t think it’s just for baking. Buttermilk uses abound so think about buying a quart next time you’re at the grocery store. You can usually find a quart or half gallon always in my refrigerator. 

Since buttermilk is slightly acidic, it’s got meat tenderizing capabilities without toughening the meat like maybe stronger marinating acids, like lemon and vinegar, do. Buttermilk has enzymes that help break down the protein in meats, like chicken, pork and turkey, so why baby back ribs! 

Harissa Spice

This recipe is even more reason to swing by Amazon  and buy my cookbook! And, if you already have, THANK YOU!! Not only do you get over 100 great food recipes, but you’ll have all my secrets for spice mixtures including the harissa!  Go head venture beyond your traditional ribs, your long-time family recipe and use this harissa spice mixture. You always have that as a back-up. Put a global flair to a Southern favorite!

If you don’t want to make your own harissa spice mixture (I promise it’s easy!). You can buy it on Amazon or check your grocer’s spices. Harissa spice is becoming pretty mainstream today for cooking.

If you want to try a fabulous chicken recipe using this harissa spice, then here you go. One of my favorites! 

Baby Back Pork Ribs Grill

Buttermilk is oftentimes used as a marinade for chicken and turkey.  You don’t see this as a marinade for something like baby back pork ribs on the grill as often. Venturing out and trying new things, experimenting and exploring new flavors, spices, combinations and foods, that’s what cooking’s all about.

Short Ribs Vs. Spare Ribs

If you’re kinda unsure about ribs, short ribs and spare ribs, then you’re not alone. First of all, let’s establish if we have a short ribs vs. spare ribs big difference. I mean it’s like a cross-town rivalry! Basically beef short ribs are precisely what spare ribs are, but the big difference. Spare ribs come from pork. And, short ribs come come from beef. Beef short ribs usually have more meat and are larger than pork spark ribs. You can bet boneless short ribs, and these are cut from either the chuck of plate of the rib meat. The meat’s separated from the bone. The basic consensus among rib fans is that ‘boneless country-style short ribs’ really aren’t true short ribs. 


Harissa Buttermilk Baby Back Ribs

Harissa Buttermilk Baby Back Ribs

harissa buttermilk baby back ribs


  • 1 rack, about 2 lb.s baby back pork ribs
  • 1/2 lb. boneless pork ribs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3 Tbl. Harissa spice mixture
  • 12 oz. your favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp. ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 tsp. hot paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse ground pepper


Combine the buttermilk, salt, Harissa, and blend together. Pour into a large baking dish.  Put the rack of baby back ribs and bones ribs in and coat well. Let them marinade at least 6 hours or overnight.

You may need to cut the rack in half to fit in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap.

Remove from refrigerator a least an hour before grilling.

Coat a grill with cooking spray.  Heat to about 450-500 degrees.  (Note:  Depending upon the size/thickness of your boneless ribs, less cooking time may be needed.) Place rack of ribs on grill.

Cover and cook slowly for about 8 minutes on side one getting nice grill marks.  Open the lid, reduce the heat to about 300 -350 and cook another 15 minutes.  Flip the ribs.  Using a pastry brush, coat liberally  the tops of the cooked side with BBQ sauce.  

Close lid (temperature about 300) and cooking another 20-30 minutes.  Coat this side with BBQ sauce.  Remove to a dish and cover with foil and let rest about 15 minutes.

WHISKEY HONEY DRIZZLE: In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine the whiskey, soy sauce, honey, ketchup, ginger, paprika and pepper. Bring to a simmering boil. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes to thicken stirring frequently.

These will be tender tasty ribs. Drizzle with the Whiskey Honey glaze (optional) or use your favorite BBQ dipping sauce.


Baby Back Ribs typically are more tender, hence, less cooking time.

You can substitute the Whiskey Honey Drizzle (glaze) for BBQ sauce on the cooked ribs. OR, you can have both!

Your sharing is GOLDEN! Thank you!

Your sharing and comments help me stay in business! Share a photo if you make the recipe #allyskitchen Thank you! xo Ally

Harissa Buttermilk Baby Back Ribs

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  1. So, I do not have a grill but would a slow cooker work?

    1. Hi, Chelsea! Thanks for asking. Yes, I think a slow cooker would work. You’d not have that ‘smokey’ aroma/taste. You could use some liquid smoke with your seasoning. Another idea is to cook them in the oven. I’d say on about 425. Here’s a note from the USDA on doneness: According to USDA, ribs are “done” when they are 145°F internal temp, but they may still be tough. If you take them up to 190 to 203°F, the collagens and fats melt at this temp and make the meat more tender and juicy. Good luck and hope you enjoy! Please please come back often, luv! xo ~ally

  2. Hi there, of course this post is truly pleasant and I have learned lot
    of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.

    1. Thank you, Karen! Please come back often! xo ~ally

  3. Oh my, these look just wonderful. Harissa seems like a magical ingredient to me. I just recently discovered it but never used it with ribs, YUM!

    1. chris…I LOVE Harissa! Use it with so many things…does magic to food!! Thank you, sweet friend, for hanging out w/me!! xo ~~ally

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