I have a long and complicated history with ribs.
As a child, and then growing up, I wouldn’t even taste them having been deeply traumatized by the sight of slavering people in restaurants (albeit not fine restaurants) sucking and chawing away at bones with red sauce running down their chins and a shiny, 1980s lip gloss look about their entire personage afterwards.
Plus, these were actually ribs and guess what they looked like? Yes! Ribs! Gack!
As someone who often likens their own eating habits to that of the Gentle Brontosaurus (“Only tender young shoots and veggies for me please”) I actually do eat meat but I am very particular about it, which is an important precursor to this recipe.
Because these are, the ribs that even I will eat and enjoy – if somewhat guiltily.
Men, generally, seem to love these by the way and make no bones about it, if you’ll pardon the pun.
(I should also point out that The General will eat anything that he can catch and has tried to bring home, shall we say, lesser quality cuts on occasion that I have had to veto despite their extremely impressive sale price.
Scraunch of beef anyone? How about some Hip ‘O Pork? The General is not as, um, discriminating as I am, but dear reader, you can trust me absolutely).
These are tender, trustworthy and never a cloying, drippy mess …
For 4 hungry people (Or 2 teenagers …)
3 racks baby back ribs OR regular back ribs BUT NEVER “Side Ribs” (You have been warned …)
For the Rub:
2 heaped Tbs. good quality smoked paprika or Hungarian paprika
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
1.5 Tbs. kosher salt
1/8 tsp celery salt, but no biggie if you leave it out
*Feel free to adjust amounts here too with experience and according to your tastes*
- Combine ingredients for rub and smooth liberally all over the ribs, concentrating on the meaty side.
- Layer 2-3 sheets of heavy duty foil one on top of the other (shiny side up) and place ribs on top. Fold and crunch into a very tight envelope.
- Place on baking sheet and cook for 2 hours in a 300-325 degree oven.
- You can refrigerate and leave overnight at this point or, proceed to the BBQ (or grill) and lightly grill/caramelize (3-5 minutes only) to your liking, after basting with The Sauce mentioned next. HINT: You can use new foil on the BBQ, lightly oiled and totally avoid clean-up.
“The Sauce:” Take a goodly amount of your fav bottled BBQ sauce (don’t hiss, you purists out there, I am not done yet) and tart it up by adding 1/4 cup Bourbon preferably or Rye and another good grind of pepper and mix well. Apply as needed to ribs as they become caramelized and discard any excess in the unlikely event that this is necessary. Cut daintily into small portions (say, threes) before loading onto a platter. Serve with plenty of real napkins and steamed corn on the cob.