I am recreating this post because recently I made my Baby Back Ribs for one of my friend’s birthday celebration and a few people there asked me how I made the ribs. Instead of repeating myself I figured I would just put it online. The secrete to making “moist-flavorful-fall-off-the-bone Baby Back Ribs” is don’t smoke the ribs. Now I know a lot of people might say its not real BBQ ribs without smoke, and I completely agree with that statement…
I am not teaching you how to make BBQ baby back ribs, I am teaching you how to make “moist-flavorful-fall-off-the-bone Baby Back Ribs”. True BBQ ribs are always smoked low and slow for hours. You can tell real BBQ ribs because when you cut into them you will see a pink or light purple smoke ring just on the outer layer of the meat. However, most American’s are not experienced enough with smoking to do it right and to be honest most of us don’t have the time to properly smoke ribs. That is why I am showing you my braising method of making baby back ribs.
My ribs are braised and glazed Baby Back Ribs, the braising is how I get the meat to be fall-off-the-bone while still keeping it moist while; the glazing is what gets the sauce to stick onto the ribs. So to start making your ribs I recommend buying a Baby Back Rib 3 pack from Costco. You can use a single rib pack from your regular grocery store, but the way I see it… if you are going to spend over 3 hours of cooking, cook enough to make it worth your while.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THESE RIBS:
- 3 Racks of Ribs (Costco pack)
- Dry Rub (ingredients described in step 2)
- 3 cups of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of Cajun seasoning
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
- Braising Liquid
- 16 oz Apple cider vinegar
- 1 can of tomato puree (small can)
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
- Reliable oven with broiler
- Sauce Pan
- Basting Brush
Now for those of you who just want to follow a video here you go:
However, if you want to read through a step-by-step guide continue below:
Step 1 – Clean your ribs and trim off the extra fat and meat. Yes, I said meat. When you buy Baby Back Ribs there is usually a “flap” of extra meat that hangs off the side. Trim off the extra meat because you want the meat to be even around your ribs. If you have one side of your rib that has an extra 2 inches of meat, then that side is not going to cook an evenly as the rest of your ribs. So trim your ribs so they are even. If you want to serve your ribs as a whole rack, then leave the rack of ribs intact. However, to make it easier to handle I typically cut the ribs into two halves which usually leave me with two half racks (~6 ribs each)
Step 2 – Use a dry rub and liberally cover your ribs with your dry rub. A standard BBQ flavor dry rub is 3/4th brown sugar and 1/4th seasoning. Seasoning can be made up of any combination of the following: salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne chili, paprika, etc… Coat your ribs with dry rub then using a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, seal your ribs in a pouch. You want it to be tight so the ribs will “steam” when you add in some liquid, but you do not want the foil to be too tight (close to the ribs) to the point where there isn’t enough room for steam to form. Now store your ribs in the refrigerator overnight (minimum of 8 hrs).
Step 3 – The next day, preheat your oven to 225 degrees (F). Bring your ribs out and let them rest on the counter to bring them to room temperature. Open up the foil pouch just enough to pour in some liquid. So currently your ribs have a lot of sugar and a good amount of seasoning. So if you were to add water and braise your ribs they would turn out extremely sweet. Therefore, we need to add some acid to the equation to balance out the sweetness. The acid will add some sourness which is necessary to have that BBQ flavor. Think of your favorite BBQ sauce, all of them have some kind of acid (usually in the form of vinegar). Therefore, you want to create a braising liquid that has acid in it. What I recommend is starting with Apple Cider Vinegar, tomato paste, honey and Worcestershire sauce. Mix the liquid up then pour it into each of your foil pouches. You want roughly 3/4 of a cup of liquid in each pouch. Seal it up so it is liquid tight, then place the ribs on a backing sheet and place them in the middle of the 225 degree (F) oven and cook for 3 hrs.
Step 4 – Once your ribs are done in the oven take them out and open the pouch so the steam comes out. Once the steam comes out, pour the liquid into a sauce pan. Let the ribs rest on the foil until they are cool enough to handle (roughly 15 – 20 minutes). Cook the liquid down and reduce it by half, it should be thick enough to stick to the back of a spoon (aka, it should look like a syrup or gravy).
Step 5 – Once the ribs are cool enough to handle, cut them into individual ribs and place them back on the foil, then place them all back onto the backing sheets.
Step 6 – Once you have your rack of ribs all cut into individual ribs and placed onto the foil, paint the thick sauce onto the ribs.
Step 7 – Once your ribs are painted with sauce place the racks onto a preheated broiler, about 8 inches from the heat source. You want to burn the glaze onto the ribs so the sauce sticks, but not long enough so the glaze burns. You will have to do this a few times to get the hang of it. Watch the ribs carefully because the difference between perfectly glazed and burned is a matter of minutes or even seconds.
I know baby back ribs take a long time to make, but the end result is so delicious!