Baby Back Ribs

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Ribs are not easy to cook on the grill. I spent an entire summer two years ago trying my best to figure out the perfect method.

What I learned: bake them in the oven first!

For the grill flavor, all that is needed is to finish them off over some charcoal, just a few minutes to caramelize the sauce and soak up the smoke does the trick. I was able to get good ribs on the grill but they weren’t fall-off-the-bone. I accomplished that starting them in the oven wrapped in foil then finishing over the coals.

This recipe features an original rub and sauce.

The rub features paprika and ground mustard with a little cayenne thrown in for some kick. The spice mix provided a great flavor foundation and alone would have made the ribs really tasty.

The sauce featured molasses and dijon mustard and was a sweet and mildly spice compliment to the rub. The molasses provided a sweet balance to the spice of the dijon and was the real star of the sauce.

Overall, these ribs were absolutely delicious. The cooking process, rub and sauce worked as planned and made for a restaurant quality rib.

I dug into these like a maniac.

If your looking for a rib recipe - this is it.

Every time I eat ribs I think of my 9-month stint working at the Texas Roadhouse. One of their selling points is fall-off-the-bone ribs. (As a server, they expected us to say that to customers.) The Roadhouse ribs are delicious but what I remember most about them is the mess that customers would make eating them, especially teenagers. Hands, faces, seats, tables, ketchup bottles - everything would be covered with rib sauce.

I remember one kid on his 13th or 14th birthday. He had sauce covering his face and I won’t ever forget him looking at me and telling me how great they were as the sauce literally dripped from his cheeks. It was comical.

Even when I’m alone I don’t like to get anywhere near that kind of messy when I eat. It amazed me that people would actually do that, or let their kids do that in public. As amazed as I was at the messes, it was often a great laugh or a highlight of a shift, which would sometimes be a grueling marathon of slinging steaks and ribs at customers for hours on end.

Eat well, cook often ...

Serves 4; 3 hours
3 Tbs Paprika
3 Tbs Salt
2 Tbs Pepper
2 Tbs Ground mustard
1 Tbs Garlic powder
1 Tbs Onion powder
1 tsp Cayenne pepper

1 - 4 to 5 lb slab Baby back ribs

1/4 C Onion, diced
1 Tbs Garlic, minced
1 C Ketchup
1/2 C Molasses
1/4 C Vinegar
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp Liquid smoke
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

Make rub, prepare ribs
In a bowl mix together paprika, salt, pepper, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Remove membrane from bone-side of ribs. Liberally rub the seasoning over both sides of the ribs, wrap in aluminum foil and let marinate in fridge at least 25 minutes or up to overnight.

Bake ribs
Place ribs in a preheated 325° oven and cook until meat is tender and has receded from the bones, Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes.

Make sauce While ribs bake, in a sauce pan over medium heat sauté onion in a little olive oil until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste. Add garlic cook 1 minutes more. Add ketchup, molasses, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

Finish ribs

Slather ribs on both sides with sauce. Place on a prepared charcoal or gas grill for a few minutes on each side to caramelize sauce. Slather more sauce on ribs after each turn. Total time on grill 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board, slice and serve.

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