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Baby Back Ribs

Folks can’t eat these tasty ribs without licking their fingers. The double-cooking method—the ribs are first rubbed with pungent spices and slowly baked, then finished outdoors on a hot grill with a zesty glaze—results in extra flavorful and tender meat that will pull away from the bone with the slightest tug of the teeth.

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks Baby back ribs (about 5 lb. total)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup-style chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup peach or apricot preserves
  • 2 Tbs. unsulfured dark molasses
  • 1 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • Canola oil for grilling

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Cut each rib rack into 2 or 3 sections. Mix together the salt, paprika, oregano, thyme, granulated garlic, onion powder and pepper. Sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the ribs and rub it into the meat.

Arrange the ribs, overlapping slightly if necessary, in a large roasting pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the ribs and return to the oven. Continue cooking until the ribs are tender and browned, about 30 minutes more.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, stir together the chili sauce, peach preserves, molasses, vinegar, mustard and hot pepper sauce and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

While the ribs are cooking, prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the cooking grate. Brush both sides of the ribs with the sauce. Place on the grill, cover and cook, turning once, until shiny and glazed, about 3 minutes per side. (Alternatively, increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Pour off the fat in the roasting pan, then return the ribs to the pan. Brush the ribs with some of the sauce and cook until the ribs are shiny and glazed, about 5 minutes. Turn, brush with more of the sauce and cook to glaze the other side, about 5 minutes more.)

Transfer the ribs to a carving board and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut between the bones into individual ribs, heap on a platter and serve with any remaining sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

Variation: Pork spareribs are also excellent prepared with this oven-barbecue method. They are larger, meatier, and a little tougher than baby back ribs, so they will take about 45 minutes of covered baking, another 45 minutes uncovered and a final 15 minutes for the glazing.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).