What to use as a binder for Pork Ribs: Unconventional Binders for Pork Ribs

What to use as a binder for Pork Ribs: Unconventional Binders for Pork Ribs

Pork ribs have always been a favourite among barbecue fans, recognised for their succulent meat and the plethora of flavours they can take on. The secret to achieving these mouthwatering flavors often lies in the binder used during preparation. While traditional binders like barbecue sauce and marinades have a long-standing reputation, a new wave of alternate binders is rising in popularity, bringing unique flavors and textures to your pork ribs.

Understanding Traditional Binders

Before we embark on our exploration of alternate binders, let's revisit the traditional ones. Barbecue sauce and marinades have long been the go-to options. They not only infuse the meat with flavor but also help seal in the juices, resulting in a tender and flavorful output. But as much as we love these traditional binders, they can sometimes feel a bit too predictable.

Limitations of Traditional Binders

Traditional binders, despite their merits, can limit the flavor profile of your ribs. For instance, barbecue sauce tends to overpower, making it hard to taste the true flavor of the pork. Furthermore, some people may have dietary restrictions or simply want to avoid high sugar or salt content often found in these traditional options.

Dive into Alternate Binders

Now, let's delve into the world of alternate binders, each bringing their own unique twist to your pork ribs.

Honey as a Binder

Honey, a natural and versatile binder, adds a hint of sweetness to your ribs. It caramelises beautifully during the cooking process, creating a glaze that enhances both the flavour and appearance of the meat. Add some savoury and spicy tones with Meat Church Honey Hog Hot Rub.

Mustard as a Binder

Mustard makes for a great binder, especially when combined with other spices. Its tangy flavour pairs well with pork and aids in tenderising the meat. Match mustard with Hardcore Carnivore Sweet BBQ Rub

Fruit Juices as a Binder

Citrus juices, like orange, lemon, or lime, can add a refreshing tang to your ribs. Pineapple juice, in particular, has enzymes that break down proteins, leading to more tender meat. Try Sauc'd Low n Slow The Split Gin Blend to make the most of the citrus in the juice.

Worcestershire Sauce as a Binder

Worcestershire sauce is a popular choice for enhancing the umami flavor in meats. It adds depth and complexity to your ribs, making them more savoury and delicious. Match this with The Hogfather by Bulldozer BBQ for great colour and a smokey sweetness.

Apple Cider Vinegar as a Binder

Apple cider vinegar not only adds a tangy taste but also serves as a tenderizer. It helps break down the connective tissues in the meat, resulting in ribs that are tender and juicy. Big Red Brand Red Rub is your goto here for porky goodness and big flavour ribs. 

Pineapple Juice as a Binder

Pineapple juice, besides its tropical flavour, contains bromelain, an enzyme that tenderises meat. It imparts a subtle sweetness to the ribs while ensuring they remain moist. With pineapple tenderising the meat, you'll need a good smokey savoury hit for these ribs, we recommend The Four Saucemen Pork Rub.

Choosing the Right Binder

When selecting an alternate binder for your pork ribs, consider the flavors you want to achieve and how they will complement the natural taste of the pork. Experimentation is key, so don't be afraid to try different combinations and ratios until you find the perfect balance.

Applying the Binder: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying the binder to your pork ribs is a straightforward process. Simply brush or rub the chosen binder onto the meat, ensuring an even coating. Allow the ribs to sit for a up to 30 minutes to absorb the flavours before proceeding with your preferred cooking method.

Why Use Alternate Binders?

Using alternate binders for pork ribs offers several benefits:

  • Enhanced flavor: Alternate binders bring a variety of flavors to the table, allowing you to create unique taste experiences with your ribs.
  • Tenderness: Some binders, like pineapple juice and apple cider vinegar, act as natural tenderisers, resulting in ribs that are incredibly tender and juicy.
  • Customisation: With alternate binders, you have the freedom to experiment and create your own signature flavor profiles that cater to your preferences.

Experimenting with Flavours

One of the exciting aspects of using alternate binders is the ability to experiment with flavors. Consider combining different binders and spices to create a flavor profile that suits your taste buds. For instance, a combination of honey and mustard can add a balance of sweetness and tanginess to your ribs.

Tips for Perfectly Bindered Ribs

To achieve the best results with alternate binders, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Marinating time: Let the binder sit on the ribs for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat fully.
  • Consistency: Ensure the binder has the right consistency to adhere well to the ribs. Adjust the thickness by adding or reducing ingredients as needed.
  • Even coating: Apply the binder evenly to all sides of the ribs to ensure consistent flavor distribution.
  • Proportions: Experiment with different proportions of binders to achieve the desired balance of flavors. Start with smaller amounts and adjust as needed.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When using alternate binders for pork ribs, avoid the following common mistakes:

  • Overpowering flavors: Be mindful of the binder's flavor intensity. It should enhance the taste of the meat without overpowering it.
  • Excessive marinating time: While marinating adds flavor, excessive marinating time can result in a mushy texture. Follow recommended marinating times for the best results.
  • Skipping the resting period: Allow the binder to settle on the ribs by giving them a few minutes to rest before cooking. This allows the flavors to infuse into the meat.
  • Using low-quality ingredients: Opt for high-quality binders to ensure the best flavor and results. Fresh ingredients will make a noticeable difference.


Incorporating alternate binders into your pork rib recipes can open up a world of exciting flavors and enhance the overall dining experience. Whether you choose honey, mustard, fruit juices, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, or pineapple juice, each binder brings its own unique qualities to the table. So, go ahead and experiment, have fun, and enjoy the delicious results of your bindered ribs!


Q: Can I use multiple binders? A: Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different combinations of binders to create unique flavor profiles.

Q: How long should I let the ribs sit with the binder? A: It's recommended to let the ribs sit with the binder for at least 30 minutes before cooking to allowthe flavors to penetrate the meat.

Q: Can I use a dry rub with a binder? A: Yes, you can use a dry rub in combination with a binder. Apply the binder first and then add the dry rub for a more complex flavor profile.

Q: Can I use a binder for other types of meat? A: Certainly! While this article focuses on pork ribs, alternate binders can be used for other cuts of meat as well to enhance their flavor and tenderness.

Q: How can I store leftover binder? A: Leftover binder can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Make sure to label it properly for future use.

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