Ribs are the ultimate summer food. We’re already eating outdoors – why not make it messy? Cover the picnic table with paper, throw down a heaping platter of these ribs, a pile of napkins, a bowl of coleslaw, some fluffy dinner buns and dig in! If this scene doesn’t evoke summer, I don’t know what does!
Ribs do take a while to become tender, but so many steps along the way can be done in advance. The day before you plan to serve them, rub the ribs with the spices and marinate, and make the sauce. In fact, the sauce can be made up to five days ahead. The sauce is equally delicious on chicken, steaks, burgers, chops – you name it!
While you may want to experiment with other sauce/rub flavours through the summer, perhaps even the meat (beef ribs are a treat too!), this one is a total classic – saucy, smoky, a little sweet and may truly be the only rib recipe you’ll need all summer!
Saucy Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs
Serves 6 to 8
- 4 lbs porck back racks (about 2 racks)
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp smoked or regular paprika
1 tsp each garlic powder and onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each dry mustard powder and pepper
Smoky BBQ Sauce
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup passata (strained bottled tomatoes)
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp smoked or plain paprika
1/4 tsp salt
Trim fat from ribs: Remove membrane from underside of ribs, if attached. Mix together brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, mustard powder and pepper. Rub all over ribs. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or for up to 24 hours.
Smoky BBQ sauce: In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion and garlic until softened and lightly golden, about six minutes. Stir in tomato passata, molasses, vinegar, brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about one cup, 20 to 25 minutes.
Place ribs in shallow roasting pan. Bake, covered with foil, in 350ºF oven until very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
For a charcoal grill, place ribs on grill directly over the coals. Cover and grill, turning once halfway through grilling and brushing occasionally with sauce, until ribs are browned, about 10 minutes. For gas grill, place ribs on grill over medium-high heat. Cover and grill as directed. Serve with any remaining sauce.
CAN’T STAND THE HEAT? GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN…
• Too hot to bake the ribs first? Grill the ribs over indirect heat instead. The timing will be approximately the same, but your kitchen won’t overheat. For indirect grilling, place the ribs over a portion of the grill that is not lit or heated. In a gas grill, achieve this by lighting only a few of the burners — in a charcoal grill, by piling the coals to one side of the grill. Be sure to place a drip tray below the ribs to catch the fat and prevent flare-ups.
• The phrase “falling off the bone” often comes to mind when we think of cooked ribs. However, technically, if the meat is actually falling from the bone the ribs are likely over cooked. A perfectly cooked rack of ribs is very, very tender but should still be clinging to the bone. The best way to test doneness is to insert a toothpick into the thickest part of the meat. If it pokes in and removes with ease, the meat ribs are done. Be sure to check each rack individually as each one is a little different.
• If using a gas grill, consider adding wood chips to achieve the natural smoky flavour that’s inherent in a charcoal grill. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the wood chips, as each gas grill will have different specifications