Who doesn’t love barbecued pork ribs? I just love pork in any form. My mother made ribs for us on several occasions, but she used an entirely different technique. Mom cut the ribs into 2-3 rib portions, boiled the ribs until they were barely tender, cooked them for a while longer in a sauce of ketchup and vinegar, and baked them for a bit before serving. Mom said this was her father’s favorite way to prepare ribs. She put a “garbage bowl” in the center of the table where we would discard rib bones devoid of meat, gristle, everything. We loved ribs. If we’d figured out a way to eat the bones, we would have done that too with another slathering of her very simple sauce.
Through the years, I’ve experimented with a variety of porksicle cooking methods. Regardless of the technique, I had empty plates and lots of bones. But during a visit last summer, I decided to give the ribs a dry rub gently baked in the oven and then sauced. The recipe was a special treat in celebration of my daughter’s family’s visit to Montana. Brock, my son-in-law raved about them, so I knew I was onto something good. I tried to finish the ribs on the grill, but they were so tender, falling off the bone, that I decided to bake them off in the oven.
The way I do it is to buy a couple of disposable aluminum pans large enough to accommodate one or two slabs. It’s an easy cleanup – why not? And disposable pans with high enough sides so the baked off pork fat doesn’t drip on the bottom of the oven. So, I got two large roasting pans. You may have to cut a large slab in half so all the meat will properly fit. Throw all of disposables: pans, empty bones, napkins, into a neat little package for the garbage. If it’s really warm outside and you don’t want to heat up your oven, I imagine you can bake the ribs in foil covered pans on a gas grill for a couple of hours. After all, a gas grill with the lid down is easily temperature manageable, but I have not tried this method.
Also, I found a rub that uses ground coriander. Wow! Never knew how much an ingredient improved the taste of the finished product. Coriander is now my favorite recipe ingredient, especially for rubs and sauces. Soon, I’ll share with you a fish taco recipe using coriander in the marinade – really, unspeakably good.
As far as the actual rib meat goes, I buy St. Louis-style ribs from Costco. St. Louis Style ribs have larger rib bones, but the grisly top is cut off. They’re meaty, succulent, gorgeous, and cheaper here in Billings than baby back ribs.
I can’t take credit for the barbecue sauce I used to finish the ribs and serve alongside. It’s a basic evenly seasoned sauce from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. The only change I made was to substitute some of my homemade jalapeno jelly for some of the sugar. If you like a sweet-hot BBQ sauce, you’d like this!
Here’s a rib recipe fit for any Father’s Day King! Let me know what you think . . .
- 3 Tablespoons dark or light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 Tablespoon ground dry mustard
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder, not onion salt
- 1 Tablespoon parprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder, not garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- For the rub: Mix together the brown sugar, salt, coriander, mustard powder, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne.
- Place the ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, or into two cooking-sprayed disposable aluminum pans. Rub the ribs generously on both sides with the dry rub – I used all of mine. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the ribs marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bring the ribs to room temperature, and place them bone-side up on the baking sheet, so the backs of the ribs are facing up.
- Mix together the apple cider, cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Pour around the ribs. (If you have two baking sheets or roasting pans, you may want to double the cider mixture.)
- Place another lay of foil on top and crimp to seal completely. Place in oven and cook for 2 hours.
- Remove the top foil, turn the ribs over. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees, and cook until the ribs are a rich dark brown, the edges are crisp, and the meat if fork tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove the pans from the oven. Brush lightly with barbecue sauce, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Take the ribs out of the oven and serve with bowls of extra sauce.