Food & Drink

Niall McKenna’s BBQ Pork Ribs and Sweetcorn - recipes

Barbecue season always starts with the first bank holiday in May, says Niall McKenna

Niall McKenna's BBQ Sweetcorn
The first bank holiday in May signals the start of barbecue season

We all have those friends who love to barbecue all year round but, for me, barbecue season always starts with the first bank holiday in May. Perhaps this stems from my happy memories in London when we would invite our friends around to kick back, cook great food, and barbecue.

With the hopes of a dry bank holiday, this week’s recipes include barbecue staples; butterflied BBQ ribs and sweetcorn, both simple yet tasty. Always remember to try and shop locally and buy from your local butcher.

Why not take advantage of the bright long evenings and join us at Waterman House Cookery School for our BBQ basics cooking class?

BBQ Pork Ribs

Niall McKenna's BBQ Ribs
Niall McKenna's BBQ ribs
  • For the ribs, buy a rack of pork ribs from your butcher. You can get him to slice this into individual ribs. I normally allow three per person, but prefer to cook and serve as a rack.
For the sauce
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 chillis, deseeded and diced (add more dependent on your taste)
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 pinch cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 150ml apple juice
  • 200ml tomato ketchup
  • 100ml HP Sauce
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Place the ribs in a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Once boiled, simmer for 40 minutes, until cooked. Remove from water and leave to the side.
  • For the marinade, place all ingredients in a large pot and simmer for up to 50 minutes or until the juice has evaporated. Leave to cool and blend thoroughly.
  • Once cooled, coat the ribs in the marinade, cover in cling film and place in the fridge overnight.
  • When ready to use, place on the barbecue and turn once the fleshy meat starts to caramelise. Move the ribs to the outside ring of the barbecue and coat again with the marinade, cooking for a further couple of minutes. I always use a new paint brush to put my marinade onto the barbecue meat.
  • The marinade can be prepared and placed in a Kilner jar or an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 14 days.
  • For beef ribs, you need to cook in boiling water on a simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.

BBQ Sweetcorn

Niall McKenna's BBQ Sweetcorn
Niall McKenna's BBQ Sweetcorn

(Serves 2-4)

  • 4 corns on the cob
  • 120g butter (room temperature)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley or coriander
  • Firstly, submerge your corn in a bowl of water for 30 minutes as this will increase the moisture.
  • Next, place the butter with a pinch of salt and pepper into a bowl and mix. Add in the optional ingredients and mix again. Place the corn into tin foil, smother in the butter mix and wrap tightly.
  • Lastly, place on the barbecue, preferably on a high shelf and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, turning regularly. Remove from the foil, keeping the butter in the foil and BBQ for a minute on each side to char. Serve with the melted butter.
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