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I Want My Babyback...Babyback....Babyback Ribs!

In Chili, Cookbooks, Main Course, Meat, Pork, Recipe, Sauces / Condiments
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Finished ribs - Blog 811
"Baby....it's the other, other white meat!"  "Baby.... it's what's for dinner!"

Sorry, I couldn't resist tossing out these classic Austin Powers lines, do forgive me.

As much as I love BBQ ribs, I've never made them at home from scratch before as they always seemed like a lot of work to me.  Most recipes you come across require that you smoke the ribs first, then cook them low and slow before finishing them over a hot flame.  Steps 2 and 3 of that process don't scare me, but given that I don't own a smoker, step 1 always gave me a great deal of pause.

You see, if you don't have a dedicated smoker and have to McGyver one out of a charcoal or gas grill, smoking becomes a $#!% load of work.  I've done it a few times when crafting some home made charcuterie, and I found the amount of effort required to maintain not only the right temperature (whether cold or hot smoking), but also regulating for the appropriate amount of smoke, made the whole exercise a rather large pain in my behind.

Ribs with paste - Blog 812
So it was with a light heart that I discovered this recipe recently that promised delectable home made ribs without the hassle of smoking.  Of course, not smoking the meat means that you need to provide some other method of flavor enhancement, lest you end up with bland ribs in the end.  This recipe accomplishes the task beautifully with  a vinegar based spice rub that delivers big flavor right down to the bone.

Sauce prep - Blog 813
To be honest, I'm more of a fan of St. Louis ribs (spare ribs) than of baby backs, and the next time I make this dish I'll use them instead.  St. Louis ribs are from the belly side of the rib cage and offer more meat (and fat) per bone, resulting in ribs that stay juicier when cooked.  That said, the ribs were dead-delicious, so if baby backs are all you can find, or are what you prefer, don't let my personal preference stop you from using them.  There is no real trick to making these, though they do require an overnight stay rubbed with the spice paste, so be sure to plan ahead.  Don't feel like making ribs, but want a killer barbecue sauce to doll-up some chicken or chops?  Try this scratch sauce and see how much better homemade can be than ANY bottled sauce you can find.

Cheers - Steve


Baby Back Ribs with Citrus Barbecue Sauce

by: Brigit Binns from   The Cook & the Butcher (Williams-Sonoma)

(Print Friendly Version)



for the spice paste:

  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6 pounds baby back ribs

 for the barbecue sauce:

  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco (I used Sriracha)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter



  1. For the spice-rub: sift the paprika, Old Bay seasoning, chili powder, cayenne, and garlic powder into a large bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper, and the sugar.  Add the balsamic vinegar and stir to form a paste.  Rub the paste into the meat and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in a large roasting pan and refrigerate overnight.
  2. for the barbecue sauce: in a blender of food processor, purée the onion with 1/4 cup of the orange juice until smooth, about 1 minute.  Place the remaining 3/4 cup orange juice in a saucepan and add the ketchup, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, paprika, pepper flakes, garlic powder, chili powder, hot-pepper sauce, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, and butter.  Stir in the onion purée.  Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 minutes.  Let cool.
  3. Heat the oven to 250℉.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  4. Place the ribs on the sheet.  Cook, turning every hour, until the meat starts to pull away from the bone, about 3 hours.  Remove the ribs from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
  5. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct heat grilling over high heat.  Place the ribs, meaty side down, on the frill rack and cook until the fat starts to sizzle, 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip and cook another 2 minutes more.  Transfer to a cutting board.
  6. Cut between the ribs to separate them.  Mound the ribs on a platter and drizzle with the barbecue sauce, or pass the sauce at the table.   Serve at once. 

Serves 6-8






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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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