Rib Obsession - Recipe # 2. Oven-baked low and slow juicy, exceptionally flavourful, more technical rib recipe.

Rib Obsession - Recipe # 2. Oven-baked low and slow juicy, exceptionally flavourful, more technical rib recipe.

I am very hesitant posting this recipe. Let me explain.

This recipe, prepared correctly, is so flavourful and so juicy. It’s not quite the same as those slowly smoked competition ribs you would get, however, these are designed for excellent results in home cooking conditions! If you have a smoker – by all means, use that. If not, these oven-baked ribs might be for you.

So what’s the problem. The problem is that results and cooking time vary greatly depending on the exact size of ribs you get. As the connective tissue in the ribs breaks down with time, they become more tender. Unfortunately, they start drying out with time as well. If you cook them to the point that they are “falling off the bone,” by all professional accounts – that will be considered overcooked. Sure you can rescue those ribs with lots of barbeque sauce, but they will not be the juicy ribs you see in the pictures.

Do not be alarmed by the fact that the ribs are baked mostly uncovered. Covering the ribs will result in the meat having “boiled-like” texture. Covering the meat will not keep the juices in – once the fibers in the meat cook and contract, they squeeze out those juices, nothing can be done about that; but if your ribs are wrapped, they will just end up boiling in the juices which is not the result I’m hoping for in this recipe.

So, the trickiest part with this recipe is telling when they are done. Internal temperature won’t help (just be sure they are cooked to the Government-suggested safe internal temp, but don’t worry if it goes past that.)

The more tender they get – the drier they get. Therefore, we need to search for the point when they are tender and juicy. See the recipe for more detail. Honestly, I get the best results when I slice off a rib from the side and test it. If it’s tender and juicy, and the meat mostly comes off the bone cleanly – I just take it out.

That’s about it. I try to post recipes where the margin of error is minimal. The margin of error with this recipe is very high. If you try these out, I would love to hear from you. If you want a safer, more reliable, trusted and tested-to-perfection crowd pleaser – check this one out. It won’t be as juicy, but it will produce consistent results.

P.S. These ribs do not require the barbeque sauce at all and therefore can be keto-friendly, gluten-free friendly (see my notes in the recipe,) having said that – feel free to glaze them with some barbeque sauce, it won’t hurt!

As I mentioned, to get the ultimate juiciness in your ribs, it’s important not to overcook them. The cooking time will vary between 3 and 4 hours. If I were to pick the exact time, I think around 3 hours 30 minutes should generally make everyone happy. However, please do follow the tips to determine doneness, as there are so many variables that will affect the cook time.

Look at the beautiful bark on these ribs and the perfectly moist and juicy interior! The flavour will blow you away!

Once you can insert the toothpick into the ribs, with minimal resistance, try slicing one rib off with a knife. It’s interesting that “fall off the bone ribs” is a famous expression, yet rib connoisseurs know that ribs that “fall off the bone” are overcooked. Ideally, your ribs should be tender, very juicy and cleanly come off the bone when you bite into them but not technically break apart and “fall off the bone.”

DifficultyBeginner

Please read blog post prior to making this recipe

Yields6 Servings

 standard two-rack package of back ribs sold in most grocery stores; 2-3 lbs for each rack of ribs (see note)
 1 tbsp liquid smoke, optional
 ¼ cup barbeque sauce, optional, plus more as needed
For the dry rub:
 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
 3 tbsp paprika
 1 tbsp kosher salt
 1 tsp black pepper
 1 tbsp garlic powder
 1 tbsp onion powder
 ½ tsp cayenne (less or more to taste)
 ½ tsp red chili flakes
 2 tsp dried oregano

1

There's a papery membrane on the back of the ribs. Slide a butter knife under it to loosen, then pull it off with your fingers.

2

For the dry rub - combine all of the ingredients together and mix well. Set just under 1/4 cup aside for later.

3

Rub your ribs with the liquid smoke using your hands to ensure its evenly distributed. Rub the ribs with the spice mixture (except the small amount you set aside.) Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours or, ideally, overnight.

And if you don't have time to refrigerate this - proceed to the next step immediately. Your flavour will still be amazing.

4

Preheat the oven to 250. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil. Place oven safe racks on top of the baking sheet - this way the air will circulate under the ribs and cook them more evenly.

5

Place ribs on the prepared baking sheet, ensuring there's at least 1 1/2 inch of space between the two racks. Cover the ribs with aluminum foil only covering the top, tucking it under the rib but leaving the bottom of the rib exposed. This will trap some of the steam, help it speed up the cooking, yet avoid that "boiled" meat taste you may get if you wrap the rack entirely in foil. Place in the preheated oven.

Leave the ribs alone for 2 hours. No peeking! We are trying to create the same environment as the smoker and not let any of the heat out. It will be hard to do, I know, as the ribs will smell amazing. But unless you suspect something is wrong and they are burning - resist the temptation to open the oven.

After 2 hours, remove the foil and leave your ribs completely uncovered.

6

The total cooking time will vary depending on the exact size of your ribs. For a smaller rack, 3 hours might do it. For a larger rack - you are looking closer to 4 hours. Obviously, if your ribs are exceptionally small, it may take a little bit less time.

I would think you should be pretty happy with your results between 3 and 3 hours 45 minutes.

7

Checking for doneness is the hardest part. The internal temperature won't help. "Falling off the bone" will result in overcooked dry ribs. So what do you do?

Option 1: The bend test. Look it up if you want and see if it can work for you. However, if you are experienced with bend test, I'm guessing you may own a smoker and have a killer rib recipe of your own already. Bend test for a home cook who doesn't make ribs often may be very hard to master, as such I do not recommend it.

Option 2: As bend test takes quite a bit of practice - toothpick/knife may work better. If you insert a toothpick - you should be able to do so with very little resistance. At that point, use a knife to push the meat away from the bone to see if it comes off - a well cooked rib should come off the bone cleanly. As your ribs cook, they become more tender and more "falling off the bone" but a lot drier... So is a fine balance between tender, juicy and dry.

By far, this is the most difficult part of this recipe but with a little practice - you will become an expert determining when your ribs are done.

8

Remove your ribs from the oven, preheat the broiler to high and set your oven rack 2" away from the broiler. In the meantime, sprinkle the ribs with the remaining rub that you set aside earlier and return to the broiler watching closely to avoid burning the ribs. Do not close the oven door - keep watching your ribs, moving them around as needed while trying to evenly crisp up the skin for an interesting textral contrast. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. The melted sugar on top will be very hot so do not touch with your bare hands. I love these ribs as is, perhaps served with a bit of barbeque sauce, but if desired, feel free to brush them with some barbeque sauce.

For Keto/Paleo version of this, reduce the amount of sugar in accordance with your allowed dietary allowance. Do not brush the ribs with the barbeque sauce. Instead spread with the remaining dry rub and broil. Serve.

9

Serve your ribs with barbeque sauce on the side, if desired.

10

NOTE:
This recipe is specifically for back ribs. Spare ribs have lower meat to bone ratio, are less tender and require more cooking time; they are less expensive than back ribs and not recommended for this recipe as back ribs produce superior results.

Ingredients

 standard two-rack package of back ribs sold in most grocery stores; 2-3 lbs for each rack of ribs (see note)
 1 tbsp liquid smoke, optional
 ¼ cup barbeque sauce, optional, plus more as needed
For the dry rub:
 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
 3 tbsp paprika
 1 tbsp kosher salt
 1 tsp black pepper
 1 tbsp garlic powder
 1 tbsp onion powder
 ½ tsp cayenne (less or more to taste)
 ½ tsp red chili flakes
 2 tsp dried oregano

Directions

1

There's a papery membrane on the back of the ribs. Slide a butter knife under it to loosen, then pull it off with your fingers.

2

For the dry rub - combine all of the ingredients together and mix well. Set just under 1/4 cup aside for later.

3

Rub your ribs with the liquid smoke using your hands to ensure its evenly distributed. Rub the ribs with the spice mixture (except the small amount you set aside.) Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours or, ideally, overnight.

And if you don't have time to refrigerate this - proceed to the next step immediately. Your flavour will still be amazing.

4

Preheat the oven to 250. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil. Place oven safe racks on top of the baking sheet - this way the air will circulate under the ribs and cook them more evenly.

5

Place ribs on the prepared baking sheet, ensuring there's at least 1 1/2 inch of space between the two racks. Cover the ribs with aluminum foil only covering the top, tucking it under the rib but leaving the bottom of the rib exposed. This will trap some of the steam, help it speed up the cooking, yet avoid that "boiled" meat taste you may get if you wrap the rack entirely in foil. Place in the preheated oven.

Leave the ribs alone for 2 hours. No peeking! We are trying to create the same environment as the smoker and not let any of the heat out. It will be hard to do, I know, as the ribs will smell amazing. But unless you suspect something is wrong and they are burning - resist the temptation to open the oven.

After 2 hours, remove the foil and leave your ribs completely uncovered.

6

The total cooking time will vary depending on the exact size of your ribs. For a smaller rack, 3 hours might do it. For a larger rack - you are looking closer to 4 hours. Obviously, if your ribs are exceptionally small, it may take a little bit less time.

I would think you should be pretty happy with your results between 3 and 3 hours 45 minutes.

7

Checking for doneness is the hardest part. The internal temperature won't help. "Falling off the bone" will result in overcooked dry ribs. So what do you do?

Option 1: The bend test. Look it up if you want and see if it can work for you. However, if you are experienced with bend test, I'm guessing you may own a smoker and have a killer rib recipe of your own already. Bend test for a home cook who doesn't make ribs often may be very hard to master, as such I do not recommend it.

Option 2: As bend test takes quite a bit of practice - toothpick/knife may work better. If you insert a toothpick - you should be able to do so with very little resistance. At that point, use a knife to push the meat away from the bone to see if it comes off - a well cooked rib should come off the bone cleanly. As your ribs cook, they become more tender and more "falling off the bone" but a lot drier... So is a fine balance between tender, juicy and dry.

By far, this is the most difficult part of this recipe but with a little practice - you will become an expert determining when your ribs are done.

8

Remove your ribs from the oven, preheat the broiler to high and set your oven rack 2" away from the broiler. In the meantime, sprinkle the ribs with the remaining rub that you set aside earlier and return to the broiler watching closely to avoid burning the ribs. Do not close the oven door - keep watching your ribs, moving them around as needed while trying to evenly crisp up the skin for an interesting textral contrast. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. The melted sugar on top will be very hot so do not touch with your bare hands. I love these ribs as is, perhaps served with a bit of barbeque sauce, but if desired, feel free to brush them with some barbeque sauce.

For Keto/Paleo version of this, reduce the amount of sugar in accordance with your allowed dietary allowance. Do not brush the ribs with the barbeque sauce. Instead spread with the remaining dry rub and broil. Serve.

9

Serve your ribs with barbeque sauce on the side, if desired.

10

NOTE:
This recipe is specifically for back ribs. Spare ribs have lower meat to bone ratio, are less tender and require more cooking time; they are less expensive than back ribs and not recommended for this recipe as back ribs produce superior results.

Ribs
If you happen to have leftovers, feel free to gently brush them with some barbeque sauce, wrap in aluminum foil and reheat at 350 for about 20 minutes or so until warm

Make it Gluten-Free: ensure the barbeque sauce you purchase or make is Gluten-Free or omit entirely. Ensure all your ingredients are gluten free and not cross-contaminated, especially liquid smoke (good brands typically only contain a couple Gluten-free ingredients.)

Make it Low Carb/Keto: omit the barbeque sauce. Omit the brown sugar. If your personal macros happen to allow it – consider using at least some brown sugar for extra flavour/crispiness, but it will still be great without. Omit liquid smoke if you wish.

Make it Dairy-Free: The recipe is dairy-free, but as always, check labels on all of the ingredients used.

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