Polyface Pork Backbone and Homemade Texas BBQ Sauce

Joel and Sherri advertise the Pork Backbone on their site (Polyface) as better than spareribs, so we thought as a reasonably priced cut of meat it was worth trying.  And oh boy, was it!

Matt uses a BBQ book from the 80’s to govern our grill.  The book has some excellent tips and recipes for making your own sauce, we leave out the requested MSG… I prefer the Texas style, here’s Matt’s interpreted recipe.


  • 4lbs pork backbone, in pieces
  • 1 T palm sugar
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • dash of cayenne
  1. First, make the rub.
  2. Put the meat in a bag.
  3. Have little hands shake vigorously to coat the meat evenly all over.
  4. Transfer the meat to a tinfoil pouch (we just wrap ours, but they make them specifically for this application).
  5. Grill spice-rubbed meat in foil pouch over low heat in closed grill for 90 minutes or roast in oven at 350 degrees for 60 minutes (less if using ribs instead of back bone).
  6. Increase heat to medium on grill and finish each cooked backbone by searing on both sides for about 2 minutes.

Texas BBQ Sauce

  • 1/4 C lard
  • 1/2 C onion, medium dice
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C celery, medium dice
  • 1 C ketchup (we use TJ’s organic)
  • 1/2 C cider vinegar
  • 1 C water
  • 1/4 C Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  1. Melt lard over medium heat
  2. Add onion, garlic and celery; cook until softened
  3. Add ketchup, vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce and pepper
  4. Simmer about 30 minutes
  5. In small bowl, mix chili powder with small amount of sauce
  6. Add chili powder sauce back into pot and stir to combine
  7. Remove from heat and let stand for an hour

Let the sauce simmer while the meat cooks. Prepare veggies… (garlic, ginger and lemon kale for us folk). The trick with the kale is to add oil, garlic and ginger to a COLD pan and then heat it until it starts to cook. Once the garlic sizzles, toss in your kale until it’s coated. Once coated, pour in 1/4 C wine and cover until your greens wilt.

And feed your family, wishing you’d prepared both packages of meat!

The backbone was really good.  The meat was just as tender and juicy as ribs, but took half the time too cook.  I’m not going to lie, it was a weird feeling to be chewing on a spinal bone – but, what fun to experience a new cut of meat!


We served our meat with sauerkraut and kale – soooo good!

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  • Sara

    I bought ELaD a few weeks ago and am loving it! You mention a Kansas City style BBQ sauce in the book. My husband is a huge KC Masterpiece fan and I am trying to find a suitable recipe to replace the store bought stuff. He is pretty particular about his BBQ sauce! Would you share the KC style recipe you mentioned in ELaD or point me in the direction to find one? Thanks!

    • It’s been a while since we last made that kind of sauce and it’s been even longer since we’ve had KC Masterpiece, but I think that Domestic Man’s recipe would probably be fairly close to what you’re looking for!

      • Sara

        Thank you very much!

  • Holland L

    I checked your book out of my public library and I will be buying it soon! We barely scratched the surface of the recipes in there, being that we were only able to try seven of them.Everything we had from your book was amazing! We had these ribs a couple times and even my son ate until he was stuffed, and asked for them the next night! When it was time to return the book I asked to renew it so I could hang on to it longer, but I was denied… There is a waiting list for it! I hope whoever has it right now is loving it as much as I do <3 Thank you for posting this recipe, it's our favorite so far. I can't wait to own the book and try everything in it :0)

    • Wow, thank you SO much – that’s awesome to hear! I LOVE that there’s a wait-list at the library <3

  • MoABai

    Hi just found this after buying a Polyface backbone. In the recipe, after “Step 3. Have little hands shake vigorously to coat the meat evenly all over”, it doesn’t say how or how long to cook the meat. Help?

    • Wow. That’s just odd! No idea where the rest of that recipe went and it definitely wasn’t like that to begin with!

      Recipe is updated now. Happy grilling!

      • MoABai

        Really appreciate this! Especially since it’s been a while since you posted the recipe

      • MoABai

        Meant to tell you this months ago: This recipe is now on repeat at our house, soooo good! Thank you

  • Love via Food

    Awesome! I got some BOGO Polyface pork back bone and will definitely try this method!