Boy, do I love these ribs. I’ve been messing around for weeks now and have come up with my favorite rendition, which is perfect for a July 4th celebration — or any other time you want to please a crowd. You can use either back ribs or spare ribs for this recipe with outstanding results.
What’s my secret? I cook them in the oven for a few hours until the meat is tender, then I grill them off simply to crisp them up on the outside. And I don’t add my BBQ sauce until the last few minutes of cooking. This keeps the ribs from burning due to the high sugar content of the sauce.
Also, you can use the Ancho Chile Spice Rub if you’ve got the time, but if not, skip it and just use salt and pepper instead.
Amanda’s BBQ Ribs
1-2 racks pork spare ribs or back ribs, about 3 lbs. each
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Ancho Chile Spice Rub (optional, see recipe)
1 cup barbecue sauce (use my mother's recipe, below, or your favorite bottled version)
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of the spice rub, or 1 tsp. of salt and ½ tsp. of pepper per rib rack. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place a tight layer of foil on top of the ribs and bake for 2-3 hours, or until the meat easily comes off the bone when a fork is inserted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. (The ribs can be refrigerated overnight at this point or left at room temp for a few hours.)
When ready to serve, prepare a grill for cooking over medium-high heat, about 400 degrees. (eventually you’ll move the ribs to a cooler spot on the grill.) Brush the grill rack lightly with oil, then when hot place the ribs with the meaty side down. Allow them to brown and crisp for about 5 minutes, then flip them and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Turn off a few of the burners if using a gas grill and place the ribs over the part without the flame. (For charcoal grillers, move them to the coolest spot on the grill.) Brush the ribs carefully with the sauce, making sure it doesn’t drip too much down the sides. Cover and allow them to cook for 5 more minutes.
Remove the ribs from the grill and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing. Serve immediately with additional barbecue sauce on the side.
Ancho Chile Spice Rub
I love this spice rub for all kinds of meat-chicken, steak, pork, and even for fish tacos. It keeps in an airtight container for months in your pantry. Make a big batch so it’s ready to go on a weeknight.
And trust me on the coffee-it’s a trick that adds a wonderful depth of flavor.
¼ cup ancho chile powder
3 tbsp. finely ground espresso-roast coffee beans (not instant espresso)
2 tbsp. sweet paprika
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Store at room temperature with a tight-fitting lid for up to 2 months.
This is a shortened version of my mom Jill’s killer BBQ sauce. It’s sweet, sticky, and perfect for ribs or brisket. Keep it in the fridge for up to a few weeks.
1 cup water
1 cup ketchup
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Dash of Tobasco or other hot pepper sauce
In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring. Remove from the heat and let sit until ready to use. (If you like it a little thicker, allow it to reduce for 5-10 minutes over low heat.) Taste for seasoning and add pepper and hot sauce if preferred.
For Amanda's tips on mastering the grill, read BBQ 101: Holiday Grilling Made Easy.
Amanda Haas is a cookbook author and founder of the website One Family One Meal, a site that provides free recipes, menu plans, and shopping lists to parents who want to cook healthy meals their entire family will love. Her most recent book project is Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Roasting, Revised Edition, which includes some of her best grilling recipes and an entire chapter on grill “roasting,” one of Amanda's favorite techniques for cooking outside.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.