Oven BBQ Pork Ribs
I came in to pork ribs late in life. I remember avoiding them growing up when my father would pull out the grill. He always grilled chicken leg quarters and basted them with the hottest vinegar and pepper sauce I’ve ever tasted. Mom and I would chow down on that while he savored an entire rack of ribs over the course of a few days–no worries about high cholesterol and the crusty char that Alton says “is not a valid flavoring.” This recipe is modeled after Alton’s method of braising them in the oven in a pouch with a bit of liquid. When I presented a raw rack of ribs to my dad last year and said “Let me show you a new way,” he was very skeptical, but after tasting them, he made a rack of ribs every weekend after that for a month. My mom must have called five times asking for the recipe for the rub and trying to find “strange” ingredients (remember her mantra, “You eat some strange stuff..”) for it. Enjoy.
Spread out a length of foil or double up with two pieces so you can make a pouch later around your rack of ribs that you've washed and patted dry.
On the underside, the membrane is called the "silver skin" and I didn't remove it because it keeps the meat moist if you leave it on. I also enjoy keeping my fingers attached to my hand and won't go near that slippery stuff with a knife.
Assemble the rub ingredients - brown sugar, salt, and spices. You can mix and match what you add, just remember to keep 8 parts sugar, 2 parts salt, and 1 part of anything else. I used an old jar to shake it up.
- Slather the rub liberally onto the ribs. Wait, slather is a verb that goes better with something liquid. Cake it on. Yeah, that’s better. Don’t be afraid to overdo it.
- Assemble the braising liquid in a nice glass. Here we have locally grown organic honey. Grown? Can you grow honey? I’m all about being a wordsmythe today. My friend Chip down the street in Port Royal provides this honey and it’s great for my allergies. I warmed the bottle in some warm water first to de-crystalize it. Add a good squirt to the cider vinegar.
- Then, add a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Or, “Wooster” sauce if you’re one of the Two Fat Ladies. Why does it come in a bag? Why can’t we just call it anchovy and tamarind flavored sauce?
- By now, the rub should have begun to take in some of the meat’s moisture. Pour the braising liquid into the pouch, but don’t pour it over the meat. Crimp the pouch and get ready to ride the rocket.
- Manage to wrestle the pouch into a bigger dish without spilling, dropping, breaking, or throwing it to the ground. Put the dish into the 275 degree oven for 3 hours. Go read a book, go for a walk, wax the car.
- This is my favorite BBQ sauce. No, they aren’t paying me to endorse their product. Sticky Fingers is a southeast regional chain with locations in SC, NC, GA, TN, and FL. The original was right down the street in Charleston in 1992. Only Memphis sauce on my ribs, please. Gotta have that spicy-sweet flavor.
- Here’s what it looks like at 2.5 hours. Notice the master fat pooling in the braising liquid. Baste the ribs with the sauce at this point and put it back in the oven, uncovered, for the last half hour.
- Here’s the end result. I managed to remove them from the pouch with a big ole honkin’ griddle spatula so I could discard the master fat. I basted with more sauce and we ate heartily.
- We cut into 2 rib sections for easy pickin. A mythical salad is in the background, but that’s another post.
Oven BBQ Pork Ribs
by Jason Osborne, adapted from several sources
yield one rack of ribs
Combine the following in a jar: Keeps forever. Kinda.
8 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp ground chile
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp herbes de provence
1 tsp ground mustard (powder)
scant half teaspoon nutmeg
Combine the following in a small bowl:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Wash ribs and pat dry. Leave silverskin membrane intact. Place ribs on a large sheet of foil that can be folded into a pouch. Liberally sprinkle rub onto meat and pat in. Form a pouch from the foil and pour the braising liquid in, taking care not to pour liquid over the rub. Close pouch and transfer into a larger dish or onto a pan. Place into oven for 3 hours. With 30 minutes remaining, pull the foil back and brush ribs with a Memphis-style sauce and leave uncovered for the remaining cooking time. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter so that ribs don’t sit in fat and liquid. Cut into two-rib portions and serve with more sauce.