Baby Back Ribs

August 24th, 2011  |  Family Dinner, Favorites, Oink  |  1 Comment

Good BBQ is hard to come by out here in California.  I was born and raised an hour away from some of the best BBQ in the country and the truth is that I'm spoiled.  When I go back to Texas I have three stops to make during my visit:  Black's, Salt Lick and Rudy's ...the problem is that I only get back a couple of times a year and so  have had to figure out how to duplicate those perfectly flavored meats at home.   There's certainly been a lot of trial and error over the years but the most important thing I've learned is that when it comes to baby back ribs, the meat has to fall off the just has to or its a complete waste of time.

To get your meat to that point, it takes a LOW & SLOW cooking method.  Most people stay away from smoking because it can be such a long, intensive process.  I'm breaking it down a little bit.  You'll get the delicious smoky flavor by sealing it in during the first two hours.  The last two hours of cooking will take place in the oven with the ribs tending to themselves while you take a shower to get the {smoke} stench off and put on something pretty for dinner with your special someone(s)...and I know they are special someone(s) or you wouldn't be sharing these delectable little nuggets with them!

First things first, you need to prep your smoking packets.   In a colander set over a large bowl, add about 3 cups of wood chips.  Cherry and apple chips are my favorite, but you can use whatever you can get your hands on..mesquite, hickory, etc.   Fill the bowl/colander up with water so that the wood chips are submerged.  You want them to soak for about 20 minutes.

Tear off three pieces of aluminum foil about 12-14 inches long.  Divide your chips evenly on the foil pieces.  Fold over both sides and then begin wrapping from the bottom up to form little rectangular packets.  Pierce each packet 10 or so times with a knife ON THE TOP SIDE ONLY so that the smoke will be able to escape from the packages during cooking.  Once your packets are ready, you can begin prepping the ribs.


5 lbs baby back ribs, 3 racks
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup BBQ  rub,  I like Rudy's Rub but you use your favorite
1 cup apple juice (in a spray bottle)
Cherry or apple smoking chips


Gently massage brown sugar and rub into ribs-front and back and lay over sheets of foil set over a grill safe pan or foil pans if you can find them big enough.  Allow seasonings to "melt" into meat for about 15 minutes.  Heat one side of grill to high heat and place one of your foil packets over the heat. It will take 15-20 minutes for the smoke to start coming out.  Place ribs on the opposite side of the grill WITH NO HEAT underneath.

You want the smoke to do the cooking for the first couple of hours. Close the lid so the ribs have a chance to absorb the smoke and start cooking.  After 40 minutes, generously spray the ribs with apple juice and add another smoke packet to the grill.  Keep the lid closed but continue to spray the ribs every 20 minutes or so and add the last package of chips after one hour and twenty minutes of cooking time.  When you add the last packet, gently remove the first packet.  The second packet should still have some smoke left in it.

After 2 hours of smoking time, remove ribs from the grill and transfer to a slow oven set on Convection Bake at 225 degrees (Bake at 250 degrees if your oven doesn't have that feature).  Allow the ribs to cook for another 2 hours.  The meat should fall off the bones when they've been cooked long enough... I think that's the most important thing to know about baby back ribs... you never want to have to gnaw on the bone to get the meat off!

Serve with Amy's BBQ Sauce and enjoy the best ribs you never thought could come from YOUR kitchen!

Amy's BBQ Sauce

I've long been torn between what is my favorite sauce... Salt Lick or Rudys?   Its almost the same internal conflict I face when I sit down for Sunday brunch...sweet or savory?   Its just so hard to decide sometimes...

I finally came up with my own sauce that I think is a wonderful balance between the two....and probably used every single condiment in my refrigerator in doing so!   It's so good that even when the ribs are all gone, you'll still dip your fork into it just to get one last taste.


1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mustard
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine all ingredients.  Bring mixture to a boil, whisking occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10-12 minutes.   Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.  Sauce can be reheated before serving, if desired.

Your dishwasher never had it so easy....

I think this picture speaks for itself.

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