Rafael Royal, the owner of Bianca’s Ribs at Urbanspace, a food hall in the Loop, joins WGN Weekend Morning News to share his recipe for Rib Tips.

Urbanspace is located at 15 West Washington Street.

The rib tips are the most popular item at the Urbanspace booth, even outselling the brisket. This recipe aims to deliver tender rib tips with a kick of heat and spice.


5 pounds rib tips


Equal parts: 1/4 cup

  • brown sugar
  • paprika
  •  coarse ground black pepper
  • garlic powder


  • 1/8 cup cayenne pepper ( adds heat)
  • 1/8 cup espresso (adds earthy flavor)

Mop (the spray that we will spritz the ribs with)

•1 can of  RC Cola 

•10 ounces of apple juice


Coat 5 lbs of rib tips with a small amount of salt and let them rest for one hour. After resting, rub the rib tips with olive oil. The olive oil will act as a binder so that the rub stays on the rib tips. Once you’ve coated the ribs with olive oil, apply a generous amount of the rub to the rib tips. Let the ribs rest in the refrigerator for one hour.

Once the ribs have rested, place them into a preheated smoker, or oven, set at 250 degrees. Cook the rib tips for two hours. After the first hour spritz the rib tips with your mop to keep them moist. After two hours take the rib tips out of the oven or smoker and spritz one more time. Raise the cooking temperature to 325 degrees. While the smoker or oven is coming up to temperature, tightly wrap the rib tips in aluminum foil. Resume cooking for 1 hour at 325 degrees. After an hour, reduce the oven or smoker temperature to 190 degrees and hold them at that temperature for 2 hours. The longer they rest at the lower temperature the more tender they become. Once you are done, remove the rib tips from foil, slice, and serve with your favorite bbq sauce.  Bianca’s uses Chicago made Sweet Baby Ray’s. Some people prefer them without the sauce since they are so flavorful.

To make it into a sandwich, you chop the rib tips and saute them with caramelized onions. Then serve it on a toasted Turano roll with mayonnaise, spicy bbq sauce, and melted Jack cheese.