Recently, one of my kids requested ribs for his birthday dinner so I did a quick recipe search and came up with Southwestern-Style Baby Back Ribs. They’re easy to make and very tasty. The recipe gives directions on cooking the ribs at home then finishing them on the grill at a tailgating party. We weren’t tailgating so I skipped making them ahead of time and made them in one afternoon.
Even though I didn’t plan ahead to let the ribs sit overnight in the fridge (I covered them with the rub then put them straight in the oven), they were still really good. After baking for 3 1/2 to 4 hours in a 300 degree oven, the ribs emerged very tender. I liberally covered them in barbecue sauce then finished them on the grill. The birthday boy said it best, “Yumm!”
Southwestern-Style Baby Back Ribs
-recipe from The Tailgating Cookbook by Bob Sloan
I once considered making more authentic smoked ribs for a tailgate party and, in the planning, realized that not only would I need to be at the parking lot hours before everyone else, but my grill was not large enough to smoke enough ribs for everyone in my party. And to try to pass off just “a taste” of barbecued ribs is like trying to arm-tackle Priest Holmes. So it was a choice between shelling out for another grill or devising another method of cooking the ribs. Baking them first in a slow oven produced moist, flavorful meat I then had only to finish on the grill.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 racks baby back ribs, about 5 pounds
3 cups barbecue sauce
At home: In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, garlic, onion powder, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the ribs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Unwrap the ribs and place them on a baking sheet. Cover completely with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the foil and let the ribs cool. Refrigerate them, wrapped in plastic, until you are ready to pack, up to 24 hours.
Just before leaving, cut the racks into individual ribs and place them in a large, sealable plastic container. Add 1 cup of the barbecue sauce and stir so all the ribs are coated.
At the tailgate: Prepare coals for a medium fire. When the coals are hot, grill the ribs for 10 minutes, until they are lightly charred and heated through, turning them several times and applying several more moppings of sauce.
Serve the ribs hot, accompanied by more sauce.
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