Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do Not Mess With Babyback Ribs

My Simple Babyback Secrets

The trouble with making babyback ribs is, you gotta know how to tame them before you even think about grilling or roasting them.
Here's what I do.
First, I cut them into individual ribs so the dry rub covers more area, and they don't have to be man-handled once they're served.
Then I boil the living hell out of them until they are cooked. They look awful at this stage; the meat is gray and the bones are white and they aren't all that tender, but they are cooked.
Then I prepare a dry rub, because barbecue sauce on a rib should be a Class C misdemeanor.
A good dry rub I like to use consists of coffee beans ground to the consistency of a fine powder, then I add a little brown sugar, salt, pepper and maybe a dash of paprika. Taste it-- it should be a well balanced flavor with nothing too obvious.
Using my clean, bare fingers I massage the rub over every square inch of the ribs, bones included. Then I rub in another layer for good measure.
I like to roast my babybacks in the oven because it's too hot to grill outside right now. I roast mine on a rack so they cook top, bottom and sides.
The key is, low and slow.
I heat the oven to about 275F and leave the ribs in for at least an hour to 90 minutes. The longer and slower they roast, the more tender they'll be.
They are done when the meat jumps off the bones and up into your mouth.
They are done when the bones can be stripped bare without any effort.
If you make babybacks and find even a speck of meat left on the bones after your guests are finished eating, you have undercooked your ribs and I wish you better luck next time.


  1. yay, i can comment now!

    i haven't made ribs in decades, but i am shocked to realize that i actually used to cook them correctly. i always used to boil the crap out of them first. okay, so i got the bbq sauce part wrong, but i get at least 1/2 credit.

  2. For some reason, some people recoil at the thought of boiling ribs before roasting or grilling them.
    Some meats are too rugged to treat daintily and require a lot of manhandling to render them deliciously edible.
    Babybacks need taming! There's nothing worse than grilled ribs that are tough and overcooked. It's a crime!