The temperatures rose to a happy seventy degrees here in Virginia this past weekend, a very welcome change from the snow and wind the week before. Every window in the house was opened to let in the smells of spring. It was barbecue weather, which could mean only one thing…ribs!
Unfortunately, although ribs on the grill is usually the way I prefer to go, our grill wasn’t in the same thank-god-spring-is-here mood. When it came time to heat it up, there was no propane and no way to get any, unless we wanted to make an hour-long round trip. We were much too hungry to put off eating an extra hour, so into the oven they did go.
Which turned out to be a really, really good thing.
I could eat ribs any day of the week. Especially when they’re tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs dripping in yummy sauce. The sauce is key, and although I’ve tried store-bought brands and happily used them from time to time, there’s just nothing as good as homemade. It only takes a quick extra couple of minutes to whip up, too, so no excuses!
wicked baby back ribs
- 3 lbs baby back pork ribs
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 cup ketchup
- 6 tablespoons vinegar
- 4 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
Mix together molasses, ketchup, vinegar and liquid smoke in a small saucepan.
Mix together onion, chili and garlic powders, brown sugar and dry mustard.
Add half the dry mixture to the wet, and mix well. Add the remaining dry to the wet and mix well.
Add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you’d like it spicy.
Simmer mixture uncovered for about 10-20 minutes to thicken sauce a bit.
Mix together cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Add to sauce and cook another few minutes until sauce is thick but pourable.
Meanwhile…get those ribs cookin’!
Put 1/4 cup vinegar in each of two baking dishes. Cut your rack in half, and place each half in one of the baking dishes.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and drain liquid from the pans.
Cut ribs into sections (I do about two ribs a section). Place sections back in pans in a single layer (use just one pan if they can all fit in one single layer, otherwise split them evenly among pans). Glaze ribs completely in sauce, reserving some for the dinner table if you wish. I just slather them with it and skip it at the table.
If you like, you can refrigerate ribs for up to 48 hours at this point. I, however, have no willpower and must eat mine as soon as possible!
Place ribs back in oven – uncovered this time – and bake for another 45 – 60 minutes, until the meat is ready to just fall off the bone. Don’t overcook…no one likes tough, dry ribs.