In this food blog, I chronicle what I make, how I make it, and if I like it. I like sharing with anyone who reads this blog, but one major reason that I continue writing here is because it's a great resource for me. If I want to make something, I almost always search for it on my blog. I can usually remember if I made something before, but I can't always remember specifics.
Right now, I want to be sure to write down how I like to make ribs. I've made ribs a few times before, and overall, they're pretty satisfying, but I've got a preferred way to make them.
1. I make them in the oven, from start to finish.
2. I make my own spice rub. BBQ sauce optional but tasty.
I know that die-hard bbq enthusiasts out there will say that ribs shouldn't be made in the oven. I don't care. It's tough to grill when you don't have a dedicated space for it. Also, there's simply a lot of not-good barbecue out there at restaurants. How I make ribs is delicious, easy, and not that expensive.
The oven method I use for ribs came from Emeril's Oven-BBQ Ribs recipe (blogged about here). However, it was a fuss to make his spice rub - first you make one spice blend, then mix part of it with other spices - and I really didn't like it more than a spice rub I made last year. The original recipe for that rub is on cooking.com [link no longer works]. I haven't tried other spice rubs, but I've been pretty satisfied with this one.
BBQ Ribs Spice Rub
1.5 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons paprika (if you're oven-roasting your ribs, I bet a little smoked paprika would be nice too)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dry mustard
This rub is a little peppery, which I like. I grind this together, but you don't need to if your ingredients are already ground. This yields enough rub for about 4 pounds of pork back ribs. Another nice thing about this blend: it's easy to make a half batch.
Cut ribs into pieces so they fit easily into a baking pan. Rub spice blend on all sides of ribs. Line baking pan with foil long enough that you can wrap the foil around the ribs. Wrap up the ribs and seal the ends of the foil together, folding the foil over as if you were rolling up a paper bag. Bake at 300F for 2.5 - 3 hours.
Next, roll back the foil to expose the ribs. Brush the meaty sides with a little barbecue sauce; or not, if you don't want to! Barbecue sauce gives the ribs a nice sheen, and will caramelize when you put the ribs back in the oven, but the ribs will still be tasty without sauce. Either way, bake the ribs for another 20 minutes. [I suppose you wouldn't have to, but I like the texture this exposed baking gives the ribs.]
One other thing I like about roasting ribs in the oven this way: very little prep. You prepare the spice rub, but you wouldn't even have to do that if you had a rub on hand. Simply season the meat, wrap in foil, and let the oven do all the work. And although it cooks for 3 hours, there's very little hands on time. That said, clean-up isn't perfect; last time I made these, liquid seeped underneath the foil and made the foil stick to the pan. However, it's nothing that a little dish soaking time won't take care of.
Overall, this is an easy and tasty recipe for lazy, cool weekends. It's something I've made several times, and foresee myself making often again this fall and winter.