Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Slow-Roasted Spiced Baby Back Ribs

These were the surprise hit of the week. Although this recipe looked amazing, I didn’t have baby back ribs on hand. What I did have was a ton of country-style (boneless) pork ribs that I’d bought on sale (they’re considerably less expensive than bone-in ribs). So I thought what the heck – let’s try it on them. The slow, low-temperature dry roasting turned the pork into juicy, delightful rib meat you could eat with a fork. And the barbecue sauce is a must – it’s gorgeously tangy and spicy. This is the perfect solution next time you’re craving ribs but it’s too cold to grill!

Slow-Roasted Spiced Baby Back Ribs
Courtesy of Sara Moulton Cooks at Home
Serves 6

6 lbs baby back ribs
¼ cup sweet or hot paprika
2 tbsp kosher salt
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup chili powder
5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper or more to taste
1 recipe Rick’s Barbecue Sauce (see below)

Use your fingers to pull off and remove the thin papery skin from the back of each rib. Combine the paprika, salt, sugar, chili powder, garlic, cumin, mustard, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix well. Rub the mixture all over the ribs. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 250˚. Place the ribs meat side up in one layer on several sheet pans and bake, turning from time to time, until very tender, 3½ to 4 hours. About 30 minutes before the ribs are done, remove them from the oven and brush liberally on all sides with the barbecue sauce. Bake until very tender. Serve additional sauce on the side.

Rick’s Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 1 quart

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 to 3 onions, to taste, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced
½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 cups ketchup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño, and pepper flakes. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching. Pour in the ketchup, add 2 cups of water, and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until thick, pulpy, and dark red, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Variations: Add 1 seeded, deveined, and finely diced habanero pepper to the sauce as it is cooling. Substitute maple syrup for one of the sugars. Finish with chopped fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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