or, I Want My Baby Back!
Yesterday, Teresa was traveling, so I was on my own for Sunday dinner. It was a warm sunny day. I recalled one of our very best cooking efforts, several years ago when we made some awesome BBQ ribs. It was 2 days of work but the resulting ribs were soooo great. I mean, who doesn’t LOVE a good baby back rib? So delicious, meaty, sweet, savory and satisfying? It really makes me feel…, well…, um…, Carnivorous!
So I thought I could maybe cut down a bit on the work. Using some of our favorite spices, I made a rub for the ribs. You could use a commercial rub for this step, but it is so easy to combine just a few ingredients from your spice drawer and get a top-notch rub. You can add your favorite spices to my basic recipe. I think some thyme or oregano or even allspice might be good. I salted the ribs and applied the rub the night before.
On Sunday morning, I prepared a braising liquid, again, just a few ingredients you probably have in your pantry. (Here again, you could substitute a bottled sauce but homemade really is better) I love a sauce with cider vinegar, ketchup and mustard, so my braise is based on those ingredients. I poured it over the ribs and slow roasted them in my oven for a couple hours.
Afterward, I drained the liquid from the rib packets, skimmed the fat off, and reduced it to make a barbecue sauce.
When I was ready to serve them, I just grilled them a few minutes, brushing with the sauce I had made using the braising liquid.
It’s that easy. Ribs are not difficult! You need to excuse me now, the leftovers are calling my name!
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
2 racks pork baby back ribs
For the dry rub:
1/2 c dark brown sugar, packed
2 T ground cumin
2 T paprika
1 T onion powder
2 t garlic powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
For the braising liquid:
1/2 c ketchup
6 T apple cider vinegar
6 T yellow mustard
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T honey
1-2 t liquid smoke
Generously salt both sides of each rack of ribs. ( I used 2 T, and could probably have used a bit more!)
Mix together all ingredients for the rub. Sprinkle generously over both sides of each rack of ribs. Rub into both sides. Cover with foil and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight on a large sheetpan.
Whisk together all ingredients for braising liquid. In a small saucepan, simmer for 5 minutes. Cool.
Remove rib packets from refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to roasting.
Open the foil packets and pour half of braising liquid over each rack. Close foil packets tightly.
Place ribs back onto sheetpan and into the oven for 2 1/2 hours. My ribs were quite meaty, with each rack weighing in at around 3 1/2 lbs, so I increased roasting time to 3 hours.
After roasting, remove the tender ribs from the foil packets. Pour all of the drippings into a 2 c measuring cup or medium bowl. Re-cover the ribs with foil. Refrigerate for an hour or so until the fat solidifies on the top layer of the liquid. Remove the fat and discard.
Pour remaining juices into a small saucepan and boil over medium heat until reduced by half. Sauce should thicken slightly. If it is not thickened once it is reduced, just whisk in another Tablespoon or two yellow mustard.
All of the above can be done in advance.
When you are about ready to serve the ribs, preheat your grill to medium-high. Cut your racks into smaller portions, for ease of turning. (I cut each in half.)
Lightly oil grill. Place ribs, skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn over to other side, again cooking for 3 minutes. Turn again. Brush with reduced sauce. Cook 3 more minutes. Turn and brush meat side with sauce. Cook 3 more minutes. Then remove to platter. Serve. Enjoy!