Classic Baby Back Ribs

June 1, 2014

Here’s a full disclosure to this post:  This recipe will require a charcoal grill, 3-4 hours of your day, and patience.  Also, I am not exactly a rib connoisseur, but they turned out delicious, mouth-watering, tender, flavorful… and any other adjectives you’d like to throw in there.

My fiancé and I recently acquired a brand spankin’ new Weber grill from the most generous and loving human in the world (HI DAD!).  We’re always up for trying new recipes and ways to cook food, so on Memorial Day we thought we’d take a stab at baby back ribs on the charcoal grill.  MUCH SUCCESS, I TELL YOU!

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 1

For this recipe, we begin with a flavor-packed dry rub for the ribs; kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, ground black pepper, and ground cumin.

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 2

Looks like we’re off to a good start, right?  There’s some prep. that must be done to the ribs before you can cover them with the dry rub.  See recipe below.  It involves removing a membrane, which I gave this task to said fiancé for tackling while I got the grill ready.

Stir together the spices and cover the ribs evenly.  This step is best tag-teamed… one rib-rubber and one mixture-pourer-onner.  Technical words here.

One item you’ll also need, a Rib and Roast Holder.  Just flip the holder over and stack your ribs upright on a baking sheet.  Let them stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 3

Next step, the glorious charcoal grill.  We’ll be cooking over indirect low heat, which basically means that the coals are banked on one side and meat is placed over a drip pan with warm water on the other side.  I’ve been taught to cover the drip pan with foil so you can reuse it for 10 years (thanks again, dad).

See the recipe below for more detailed instructions on the grill set-up.  You’ll need a Chimney Starter and Charcoal Rails too… the rails of which I have, but forgot to use.  Don’t judge.

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 4

We cannot forget the hickory wood chunks, which should be soaked in water.  I used 5 chunks, a few bigger and a few smaller.  Flavor town, here we come!

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 5

Here are the ribs after only an hour.  Beautiful, but not quite done yet.

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 6

While the ribs are cooking for that first hour, the barbecue and mop sauces are made on the stovetop inside.

The above photo is for the homemade BBQ sauce.  It a little thinner than what you would buy in the grocery store and SO much more flavorful.

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 7

This one is for the mop sauce.  You can buy a real basting mop, or just carefully drizzle the sauce over the ribs at the one hour and two hour marks.

Of course, during the cooking time it began to rain profusely, but we finished like pros with an umbrella in one hand and a beer in the other.

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 8

After more basting, adding more coals/wood chunks, and meat rotating… You end with beautifully cooked ribs while surrounded by the sweet, sweet aroma of smoked meat.

Classic Baby Back Ribs from Simplified Feast 9

Bring the ribs inside to rest under aluminum foil for 10 to 15 minutes before diving in.  Serve with the homemade BBQ sauce on top and on the side.

Tomorrow (hopefully), I’ll post a recipe for using up some of the leftover rib meat on a pizza… that is, if you have any leftovers to spare.  Happy grilling, folks!

 

Classic Baby Back Ribs

To print this recipe, click here for the PDF version
Recipe from Weber.com
Yield: 4-6 servings
 

Ingredients:

 

RUB

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons paprika

4 teaspoons granulated garlic

4 teaspoons pure chili powder

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

 

4 racks baby back ribs, each about 2 pounds

 

BARBECUE SAUCE

¾ cup apple juice

½ cup ketchup

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon molasses

½ teaspoon pure chili powder

½ teaspoon granulated garlic

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

 

 

MOP

1 cup apple juice

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (from above)

 

Method:

In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients.

 

Using a dull knife, slide the tip under the membrane covering the back of each rack of ribs. Lift and loosen the membrane until it breaks, then grab a corner of it with a paper towel and pull it off. Season the ribs all over, putting more of the rub on the meaty sides than the bone sides. Arrange the ribs in a rib rack, with all the ribs facing the same direction. Allow the ribs to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or until the surface looks moist, before grilling.

 

Fill a chimney starter to the rim with charcoal and burn the charcoal until it is lightly covered with ash. Spread the charcoal in a tightly packed, single layer across one-third of the charcoal grate. Place a large disposable drip pan on the empty side of the charcoal grate. Fill the pan about halfway with warm water. Let the coals burn down to low heat (250° to 300°F). Leave all the vents open.

 

When the fire has burned down to low heat, add two hickory wood chunks to the charcoal. Put the cooking grate in place. Place the rib rack over indirect low heat (over the drip pan) as far from the coals as possible, with the bone sides facing toward the charcoal. Close the lid. Close the top vent about halfway. Let the ribs cook and smoke for 1 hour. During that time, maintain the temperature between 250° to 300°F by opening and closing the top vents. Meanwhile, make the sauce and the mop.

 

In a small saucepan mix the barbecue sauce ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes over medium heat, and then remove the saucepan from the heat.

 

In another small saucepan mix the mop ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes over medium heat to melt the butter, and then remove the saucepan from the heat.

 

After the first hour of cooking, add 8 to 10 unlit charcoal briquettes and the remaining two wood chunks to the fire. At the same time, lightly baste the ribs with some mop. Leaving the lid off for a few minutes while you baste the ribs will help the new briquettes to light. Close the lid and cook for another hour. During that time, maintain the temperature of the grill between 250° to 300°F by opening and closing the top vents.

 

After 2 hours of cooking, add 8 to 10 unlit charcoal briquettes to the fire. Remove the ribs from the rib rack, spread them out on clean work area and baste them thoroughly with some mop. Put them back in the rib rack, again all facing the same direction, but this time turned over so that the ends facing down earlier now face up. Also position any ribs that appear to be cooking faster than others toward the back of the rib rack, farther from the charcoal. Let the ribs cook for a third hour. During that time, maintain the temperature between 250° to 300°F by opening and closing the top vents.

 

After 3 hours of cooking, check if any rack is ready to come off the grill. They are done when the meat has shrunk back from most of the bones by ¼ inch or more. When you lift a rack by picking up one end with tongs, the rack should bend in the middle and the meat should tear easily. If the meat does not tear easily, continue to cook the ribs. The total cooking time could be anywhere between 3 to 4 hours. Not all racks will cook in same amount of time. Lightly brush the cooked ribs with some sauce and, if desired for crispiness, cook them over direct heat for a few minutes. Transfer to a sheet pan and tightly cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm with the remaining sauce on the side.

 

Enjoy!

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One Response to “Classic Baby Back Ribs”

  1. Ann Wright Says:

    SOUNDS SCRUMPTIOUS BUT I WON’T MAKE FOR JUST LITTLE OLD ME BOO HOO!!! LOVE YOU GRANNIE ANNIE


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