Sunday, July 6, 2014

Falling Off the Bone BBQ Ribs

Our grand-kids were visiting and one night we had a great summer dinner: barbecued pork ribs, corn on the cob, steamed green beans, and sliced fresh tomatoes. There are millions of recipes and techniques for barbecued ribs, but this one is my favorite because it's versatile, can be made in any season, is super easy, the meat is guaranteed to fall off the bone, and is flavorful and delicious. I use a dry rub to infuse some flavor and lay down a nice base of sweet heat. My husband likes his with just the dry rub, but I like a sweet thick barbecue sauce to finish it - maybe I like the extra mess of barbecue sauce on my chin and maybe a drip on my shirt. Luckily, this recipe can accommodate both ways even if you're cooking only one rack of ribs.

Although this is a super easy recipe and you spend little time actually doing something, it does take a few hours overall, so read through the instructions and plan accordingly. Here's the recipe for the dry rub, followed by the recipe for the ribs. Plan on putting the rub on at least 2 hours ahead of cooking the ribs; the rub can be left on for several hours if you cover the ribs with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Plan on another 3 hours for cooking the ribs.

Rib Rub
This makes a little more than one cup of rub, enough for about 3 racks of ribs. Any that you don't use can be saved for the future.

2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne (ground red) pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin

  1. Combine all ingredients, mixing well so there are no brown sugar lumps and all spices are evenly distributed
  2. Store any extra in an airtight container
Falling Off the Bone BBQ Ribs

 1 rack of pork baby back ribs (one rack serves 3 - 4 people)
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
1/3 - 1/2 cup rib rub
your favorite barbecue sauce

  1.  At least 5 hours before serving, prepare the ribs. You may wish to remove the silver-white membrane on the back of the ribs called "silverskin," though it's not absolutely necessary. Some say you must always remove it and others say you don't have to. I usually do; it's an easy process: simply slide the blade of a table knife under the membrane and work towards one end. Pick up the end of the membrane with a paper towel and peel off the rest. It's very easy
  2. Place the rib rack(s) on a baking sheet; brush one side with olive oil and sprinkle on half of the rib rub (about 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup). Turn ribs over and repeat on the other side
  3. Cover ribs with aluminum foil and refrigerate until about 3 hours before you wish to serve them
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  5. Bake for 3 hours unless you are planning on basting the ribs with barbecue sauce. If using sauce, brush on sauce after 2 hours of baking and baste every 20 minutes until total baking time is about 3 hours
  6. If you wish, you can remove the ribs from the oven after 2 3/4 hours and finish them on a grill

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