Rack of ribs! Perverts…
This is the recipe that made me fall in love with Good Eats and everything Alton Brown. James and I were living in a basement suite, craving barbeque in the middle of winter. We picked up 2 racks of ribs and watched the Good Eats Baby Back Ribs episode. The three step process – rub, braise, broil – was easier than I ever thought ribs could be. At the end of it all, the meat was quite literally falling off the bone and – although this isn’t technically barbeque – the taste has the barbeque kick you crave without having to adventure outside on cold winter nights.
This has become one of our favourite all-time recipes, the only way I will ever cook ribs and my go-to meal when I have guests to impress. Hope you love it too!
Serves 2-4, depending on just how much you love your ribs
*Remember to defrost frozen ribs early, as you need to put the rub on 8 or more hours in advance
6 T dark brown sugar
1 T coarse Kosher salt (if you use a fine-grain salt, you may want to reduce this slightly)
1 T chili powder
1 T of your choice of combined spices, I use the following:
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t rubbed thyme
1/2 t of whatever I feel like that day (sage, coriander and Mott’s Caesar seasoning have all worked well for me)
2 racks baby back ribs or standard pork back ribs
The Braising Liquid
1 cup white wine
2 T white wine vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T honey
4 cloves crushed and chopped garlic
*if you are using large racks of back ribs, you may want to increase the amount of braising liquid to 1.5x this recipe.
1. Start the night before or the morning of the rib feast. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a jar and shake it up until it’s well combined and the lumps are gone.
2. Cover a sheet pan with tinfoil. Take 2 additional pieces of tinfoil large enough to make a “packet” around each rack of ribs. Place each rack in the centre of a piece of foil. Proceed to sprinkle the rub liberally over both sides of the ribs and rub it in. The top, meaty side will need the most rub, but you still want to get a decent amount on the bottom and the sides. I like to use up all of the rub.
3. Roll up the ribs in their packets. I will attempt to explain: take the ends of the 2 long side and bring them together above the ribs. Make about 3 confident folds so you have a good seam on top. Then roll up the 2 small ends, making sure you can easily roll and unroll one of the ends. Put your ribs onto the prepared pan and into the fridge until you are ready to cook – aim to have these sit for at least 6 hours (though I’ve given it only 2 hours in the past and they’re still tasty.)
4. Preheat the oven to 250F (no hotter than this!). Combine all the ingredients for your braising liquid in a measuring cup and pop it in the microwave for about 45 seconds until the sugars dissolve. Unroll one end of each rib packet and pour in half of the braising liquid into each packet. Roll it back up tight and tilt your pan back and forth to make sure the liquid is evenly distributed.
5. Pop the ribs in the oven for 2.5 – 3 hours. After 2.5 hours, carefully open one of the packets – grab a rib bone and try to turn it. If the bone turns with ease, the ribs are done. If it doesn’t, they need more time.
*Note: if you cut into the meat, it might look done and is safe to eat. Still, you should wait until the bones will turn for a nice, tender meat. They won’t dry out – promise.
6. Once the ribs are done and the bones are turning, remove them from the oven. Place one packet at a time over a small sauce pan so that the middle of the packet is sagging into the pan. Make 2 cuts in the foil over the pan and let the liquid drain out of each packet. Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid to half or until it thickens slightly.
7. Turn the broiler on high. Unroll the packets and brush liberally with the reduced juices. Pop them under the broiler for up to 2 minutes until they have darkened slightly. Keep the door of the oven open a crack and watch them the whole time to ensure they don’t start to burn. This is a sugary, fatty liquid that you’ve brushed on, so it can quickly turn from brown to black…or catch fire. (In case of fire, smother with tea towel, thought this should only happen if you have the pan too close to the broiler…am I scaring you?)
8. Serve with remaining sauce on the side, or cut into 2-rib pieces and toss with the remaining sauce.
PS – this sounds like a lot of complicated work. It’s not. At all. It’s easy peasy, in fact, and you really can’t mess it up. Give it a go and pretend that my photo is better than it is.