Baby Back Ribs are the hallmark of any amazing Barbecue restaurant. My husband, a bit of a barbecue connoisseur, uses baby back ribs as the standard by which all BBQ joints are judged. Today, I’ll put my own Baby Back Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce to the test and see how they rank.
I’ve always enjoyed preparing barbecue food although my experiences are limited to brisket and shredded pork. I love making Beef Brisket because of the complex flavors involved. It’s not a lot of work, but you definitely have to plan ahead. I love making Barbecue Shredded Pork for the opposite reason – it takes just 3 ingredients and a slow cooker for tender, flavorful pork. These Baby Back Ribs fall somewhere in between: The ribs cook up easily in the oven, and creating Homemade Barbecue Sauce adds another level of flavor and, in my opinion, culinary satisfaction.
The Barbecue Sauce
Make the barbecue sauce well in advance so the flavors have time to blend. You’re also reducing your future workload for the day that you actually make the baby back ribs. You can easily store the barbecue sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (If you’re pressed for time or energy, you can always substitute your favorite purchased barbecue sauce).
Cooking the Ribs
To cook the ribs, you wrap them in foil and bake them in the oven. A quick broil in the oven adds char and crispiness although you could also throw them on a grill, especially if you’re serving them at a backyard barbecue. Or if it’s 98 degrees outside. Which it is supposed to be today, at least around here.
If you don’t have Ancho Chile Pepper powder, feel free to substitute whatever chili powder you have on hand. Barbecue sauce is definitely open for interpretation, too, so use this recipe as a starting point for negotiation. If you like a sweet barbecue sauce, add more sugar. If you like a little more heat, add a little more hot pepper sauce.
The Baby Back Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce were a huge hit in the Hill household. Calvin gobbled them up, Jim licked them clean, and I enjoyed them for both lunch AND dinner. My two cats were also hanging around a little more than usual. I think they wanted a sample.
So the next time you think of spending a pile of money at your local Barbecue restaurant, consider making your own barbecue favorites at home for less money and all the flavor!
- 2 T. vegetable or canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ¾ c. ketchup
- ⅓ c. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 2 T. packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 ½ tsp. ancho chile pepper powder
- ¼ tsp. celery seed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp. hot pepper sauce
- 5 lbs. baby back ribs
- To prepare the sauce, heat oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. And onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, brown sugar, mustard, chile poweder, celery seed, and ⅛ tsp. salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered until thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down on the solids with the back of a ladle or spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Stir in the hot pepper sauce. Cool, cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
- To prepare the ribs, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Set ribs on the foil and season with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the ribs lightly with barbecue sauce and wrap tightly with the foil to make a packet.
- Bake 60 to 75 minutes or until an internal thermometer registers at least 160°F. Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler on high.
- Meanwhile, set the foil packet containing the ribs from the baking sheet aside. Arrange a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. Set ribs on top of the cooling rack and unwrap the foil, laying it flat. Using a sharp knife, poke several holes in the foil to allow the juices to run below to the baking sheet.
- Brush the ribs generously on both sides with sauce and broil for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Remove from the oven and slice the ribs apart to separate.
- Heat any remaining sauce and serve with the sliced ribs.