Nothing tastes or smells more like Summer than baby back ribs off the grill. They’re messy and you eat them with your hands. And dammit, if you don’t lick your fingers between eating ribs, than you’re not invited to my Summer picnic table. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, my mom, MC, served up her latest preparation of baby back ribs. Feel free to modify the spice blend to your liking (and what you have on hand), but no matter what, don’t leave out the beer and the liquid smoke. Serve these babies with some fresh corn on the cob and a tomato salad and definitely, more beer.
An important note before you start this recipe–you need to begin the process at least 14 hours before serving (which means starting the night before.) I have broken down the steps accordingly.
The evening before you want to serve the ribs, start by rinsing off the ribs and patting dry. Mix up the spice blend in a bowl and start rubba-dub-dubbin’ those ribs down. Really massage them. The brown sugar will start to melt right into the meat. Place in a big roasting pan, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge overnight.
Six hours before you want to serve the ribs, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Remove the ribs from the fridge and take off the plastic wrap. Pour in the 2 bottles of beer and cover with aluminimun foil. Bake for 4 1/2 hours.
Remove the ribs from the oven and crank the oven up to 350 degrees. Pour the liquid smoke right on the ribs and cover with foil again. Cook for 30 minutes, remove the foil, and cook for another 30-45 minutes.
During the last 30 minutes of baking time, preheat your gas grill or start the coals on a charcoal grill. Spray a paper towel liberally with Pam and wipe off the grate. When grill is hot, coat the baked ribs with BBQ sauce, using a brush. Grill the ribs until hot and the sauce is starting to char. A little burnt brings out the flavor! Serve with lots of napkins and enjoy the rest of your Summer.
2 racks, baby back ribs
2 bottles of good beer (not light)
4 tsp. liquid smoke
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
Rub spice blend:
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. hot madras curry powder
1 tsp. celery salt
2 tsp. chipotle powder
2 tsp. cajun seasoning
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1. In a small bowl, mix the rub spice blend ingredients together with a fork. If the brown sugar is too hard to break apart, microwave for 10 second intervals until it falls apart easily, but doesn’t melt.
2. Rub the ribs with the spice rub–really try to massage into the meat. The brown sugar will start to melt into the meat. Discard any remaining spices. Cover the ribs with plastic wrap and set in fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours.
3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Add 2 bottles of beer to the roasting pan, cover with aluminimun foil, and bake ribs for 4 1/2 hours.
4. Remove ribs from oven. Increase temperature to 350 degrees. Peel back the aluminum foil and pour in the liquid smoke. Cover again with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30-45 minutes, until the ribs are well browned and most of the beer (or all) is absorbed.
5. Heat a gas or charcoal grill. Spray a paper towel liberally with Pam (cooking spray) and wipe the grates on the grill. Remove the ribs from the roasting pan and brush liberally with BBQ sauce. Once the surface of the grill is hot, add the ribs. Cook on both sides until hot and sauce starts to blacken. Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side.