You don’t need 15 hours and a smoker to make fabulous baby back ribs – just follow this shortcut method and wow your guests at your next backyard get together.
Being a Texan transplant, I am a serious lover of real barbecue. It’s just in your blood when you are from the Southern part of the US. And when I say “real barbecue,” I mean dusty backroads Texas, straight-from-the-smoky-pit kind of barbecue. Blackened spice-crusted brisket with plenty of fat that melts in your mouth. Spicy sausages that pop juice when you bite into them. And slow-smoked pork ribs that make you just want to sit back and chew on bones for a good long time.
But I also know that the commitment to true barbecue is far too much for most people. Beyond even having the equipment and know-how, there are the hours of slowly stoking the fire in a smoker to keep it low and slow. But if you have an oven and a charcoal grill, you can make some damn fine ribs.
Start with a spicy rub, it imbues the meat with a lot of flavor. Let the ribs sit in the rub overnight ideally, before you start cooking. A 2-hour stint in the oven, well-wrapped in foil, is all you need to make the meat incredibly tender. But the key is to pop the baked ribs over a hot charcoal fire to crisp up the outside and lend plenty of smoky flavor. Baste them with barbecue sauce while they are over the fire to caramelize it and add another layer of yumminess to the ribs; or leave it off if you like.
I included my homemade barbecue sauce as part of this recipe because I find most prepared sauces you get in the grocery store are overly sweet and fake-smoky. This one has a nice balance of vinegary-sweet with a bit of heat. And the best part is that you can personalize it according to your tastes.