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Best Ever Baby Back Ribs

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Baby back ribs are a classic favorite, perfect for a barbecue or a family dinner. These ribs are seasoned with a flavorful dry rub, slow-cooked until tender, and then slathered with a delicious BBQ sauce. Let’s dive into the step-by-step recipe to create the best ever baby back ribs.

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Ingredients

  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (your favorite kind)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Ribs

  1. Preheat Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C).
  2. Remove Membrane:
    • Remove the thin membrane from the back of the ribs for more tender meat. Use a knife to loosen the membrane at one end, then grip it with a paper towel and pull it off.

Step 2: Apply the Dry Rub

  1. Mix Dry Rub:
    • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Season Ribs:
    • Rub the spice mixture generously over both sides of the ribs, pressing it in to adhere.

Step 3: Cook the Ribs

  1. Wrap Ribs:
    • Place each rack of ribs on a large piece of aluminum foil. Fold up the sides and seal to create a packet.
  2. Bake Ribs:
    • Place the foil-wrapped ribs on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the ribs are tender and the meat pulls away from the bones easily.

Step 4: Apply the BBQ Sauce

  1. Preheat Grill:
    • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 375°F or 190°C).
  2. Prepare BBQ Sauce:
    • In a small bowl, combine the BBQ sauce with apple cider vinegar.
  3. Unwrap Ribs:
    • Carefully unwrap the ribs and place them on the preheated grill.
  4. Brush with Sauce:
    • Brush the BBQ sauce mixture generously over both sides of the ribs.

Step 5: Grill the Ribs

  1. Grill Ribs:
    • Grill the ribs for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing with more BBQ sauce, until the sauce is caramelized and slightly charred.
  2. Rest Ribs:
    • Remove the ribs from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Slice and Serve:
    • Slice the ribs between the bones and serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side if desired.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Removing Membrane: Removing the membrane from the back of the ribs allows the seasonings to penetrate better and results in more tender meat.
  • Cooking Method: If you don’t have a grill, you can finish the ribs under the broiler in your oven for a few minutes to caramelize the sauce.
  • BBQ Sauce: Use your favorite BBQ sauce, whether it’s homemade or store-bought, to suit your taste preferences.

Variations

Spicy Ribs

  • Add Heat:
    • Increase the cayenne pepper in the dry rub or add a few dashes of hot sauce to the BBQ sauce for spicier ribs.

Sweet Ribs

  • Add Sweetness:
    • Add 2 tablespoons of honey or molasses to the BBQ sauce for a sweeter glaze.

Smoky Ribs

  • Add Smoke:
    • Add a teaspoon of liquid smoke to the BBQ sauce for an extra smoky flavor.

Serving Suggestions

With Classic Sides

  • Coleslaw:
    • Serve the ribs with a side of coleslaw for a classic barbecue meal.
  • Baked Beans:
    • Pair with baked beans for a hearty and satisfying side dish.

With Fresh Salad

  • Salad:
    • Serve with a fresh green salad or a corn salad to balance the richness of the ribs.

With Bread

  • Cornbread:
    • Enjoy the ribs with a side of warm cornbread or garlic bread.

FAQs

Q: Can I cook the ribs in a slow cooker? A: Yes, you can cook the ribs in a slow cooker. Place the seasoned ribs in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Finish by brushing with BBQ sauce and broiling or grilling for a few minutes to caramelize the sauce.

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Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store any leftover ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

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Q: Can I freeze cooked ribs? A: Yes, you can freeze cooked ribs. Let them cool completely, then wrap tightly in foil and place in a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat before serving.

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Q: What if I don’t have apple cider vinegar? A: You can substitute apple cider vinegar with white vinegar or red wine vinegar.

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Q: Can I use a different cut of ribs? A: Yes, you can use spare ribs or St. Louis-style ribs, but adjust the cooking time as needed since these cuts may take longer to become tender.

These Best Ever Baby Back Ribs are sure to be a hit at your next barbecue or family dinner. With a flavorful dry rub and a delicious BBQ sauce glaze, these ribs are tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Enjoy making and sharing this mouthwatering recipe with your loved ones!

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