Baby Back Ribs

I won’t lie. Everytime I talk or think about ribs, I immediately flashback to this:

Oh ribs. Where do I start? First off, this recipe is by no means traditional or “authentic.” If you’re from the south, you know that the greatest ribs usually come from those giant black smokers in front of barbecue joints with billowing white smoke you can spot from a mile away.

But this is the best I can do with what I have. I considered actually smoking them outside in our Weber charcoal grill, but the thought of being eaten alive by mosquitoes really changed my mind. These southern mosquitoes and I have a highly allergic relationship. Aka, every bite turns into a golf ball sized welt that itches relentlessly.

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So, I use my oven in my kitchen, safe from all of the fleas, mosquitoes, and every other freakishly annoying creature known to man that lives in the grass. Did I mention giant cockroaches? That’s a story for another time. I’m not sure if it’s my method or I’ve just purchased very magical ribs, but every time I’ve made these, the meat is flavorful and full of juice. Did I also mention the meat comes off the bone without any effort? It’s a glorious feeling. I’ve read several opinions on how the meat should be. Some say the meat should not fall off the bones, some say it should. I don’t know, if it tastes good, I really don’t care!

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I know, I know, it says “4 hours” below for production time. But, it’s an easy 4 hours. For 3 out of the 4 hours, the ribs just sit in the oven untouched.

FYI, I just buy my ribs at Walmart and let me tell you, upon opening the package, I got a strange whiff of something. Not rotten, not fishy, just…something. I did some research and apparently, the cryo-sealed packages tend to make the meat have a distinct odor (not harmful) so rinsing it off should get rid of it. If it doesn’t go away or smells super strange, then to the garbage it goes! Talking about this makes me dream of having my own butcher and not having to buy vacuum sealed ribs…

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So! I rinsed and the smell did go away. Another good indicating factor of freshness is the color of the fat (and meat) of the ribs. White = good to go. Yellow = a no-no.

Spices. Oh, spices. I don’t have that many in my cabinet, but my standard mix for a dry rub = cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano, ground pepper, and coriander. Today, I added in a couple extras: Tony’s Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (thanks Kate!) and my favorite, SLAP YA MAMA. Yes, this is real. Is this just a southern thing? It makes me giggle every time I see it.

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Now, moving onto “my” barbecue sauce. This is where I just whip up something random every I make ribs. Obviously, I have the base of the sauce by regular barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s is my go-to..I haven’t ventured into trying to make my own…yet). But let’s just say…anything goes in my kitchen. I always add some Korean chili paste and brown sugar. These give the ribs a deep, rich flavor with a bit of spiciness. Next, I also usually add some mustard. But today, I felt a little adventurous and added some miso. And you know what? The end product of mixing these together tasted strangely amazing.

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Dear god, did these turn out amazing!

 

Serves 4-5 people

Time: 4 hours

Ingredients:

1 rack baby back ribs

Dry rub:
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon ground oregano

Sauce:
1 cup barbecue sauce (your choice)
1/3 cup Korean chili paste
1/4 cup miso paste
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard (I used ground mustard)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Rinse off your ribs and pat dry.
3. On the backside of your ribs, remove the membrane. I just used my finger to peel off a corner but I’ve seen methods of using a butter knife or spoon to get underneath it.
4. Place your ribs on a cookie sheet that is covered with foil and lined with parchment paper.
5. On both sides, rub the spice mixture onto the ribs.
6. Tightly seal the ribs (using additional foil, if needed) and put them in the oven for 3 hours.
7. Once 3 hours is up, uncover your ribs and start basting them with the barbecue sauce mixture.
8. Continue to bake for another hour, while basting every 15 minutes. Do NOT recover with foil. Let the sugars caramelize!
9. Put your oven on high broil for 2 minutes. Be careful, do not walk away. The high sugar content can easily burn the ribs.
10. Remove from oven and enjoy!

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Membrane removed…

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Ribs sensually rubbed…

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