Barbecued Ribs Done Right & Light

Yes, you can have ribs, real ribs. Ribs are fatty, but baby back ribs are leaner than spareribs and are easy to trim even leaner. One of the major issues with barbecued anything is the amount of sugar in barbecue sauce. By reducing the sugar, using the leaner ribs, and sticking to a reasonable portion size (which allows room for great sides), we can keep the calories where we want them all while we get our sticky finger moment we long for.

Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs

ribs 2

Makes 4 servings


1 rack baby back ribs

2 tsp garlic powder

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

½ cup barbecue sauce


Cut ribs in half to create 2 half-wracks. Trim all visible fat. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper and rub into rib meat. Place in a large slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. Make the barbecue sauce and baste the ribs with it every hour for the next four hours, with the slow cooker set to low. Cut each half wrack in half and serve. For an additional 26 calories, serve with 2 tbsp of the barbecue sauce.

To make this in an oven, wrap ribs in foil and bake at 300 for 3 hours total, basting the last 1 hour every 30 minutes.

To make this on the grill, bake at 300 as described above 2 hours up to two days ahead. Prepare your grill. Heat to high for a gas grill, or build a medium-high fire for a charcoal grill. Grill the ribs, basting with barbecue sauce while frequently turning for 7-10 minutes until sufficiently charred.


Barbecue Sauce

barbecue sauce

Now that I live in Kansas City, it’s time I make a really good barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce is very low in fat, but is still high in calories because it’s really high in sugar. Sweet is a dominate flavor as well as smoky and sour. I had to keep this combination of flavors while reducing the sugar. With this sauce you can even eat ribs—real baby back pork ribs for under 350 calories. You are welcome.

Make 3 cups


½ cup ketchup

2 cups tomato sauce

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp spicy brown mustard

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp honey

5 packets stevia

1 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp liquid smoke

1 tsp salt


Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring until thickened.

If you are adding the sauce to a slow cooker to cook all day long, you can just mix up the ingredients and add them to cook in the slow cooker. Or you can just cook it on high for 4 hours in a slow cooker as I did in the picture, but leave the lid off for the last hour when it’s boiling well to allow it to thicken.

rib dinner

1 serving of babyback ribs shown here (1/4 rack) with 1 serving of barbecue sauce, horseradish slaw, and barbecue & bacon beans. All the recipes including the slaw and beans will be in my cookbook, Food Done Right! available on Amazon this coming May.

Nutritional Information for Babyback Ribs

Servings 4
Calories per Serving 329
Fat 23g
Carbohydrates 11g
Protein 17g
Sugars 9g
Fiber 1g


Nutritional Information for Barbecue Sauce

Servings 24
Calories per Serving 26
Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 6g
Protein 0g
Sugars 5g
Fiber 1g



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