Believe it or not, you can actually make your own super tender spicy baby back ribs in your kitchen. Southerners are famous for their smoked ribs but it’s actually very easy to get similar results at home and you don’t even need a smoker, all you need is an oven and a BBQ! And even if you don’t have a BBQ, you can even use the broiler in you oven to caramelize them.
These are so easy to prepare you won’t believe it. All the work is done in the oven with very little involvement from you. The secret to super tender ribs is to slow cook them in your oven at a very low temperature for 5 hours, that’s it! This is the perfect recipe when hosting a BBQ for a large group as it takes little effort, and everything can be prepared in advance except for the final stage at the BBQ where you caramelize the ribs with the sauce.
I must however outline just a few tips when buying the pork ribs. We’re actually fortunate in Quebec for having some of the best pork around, however this may not be the case everywhere else. Since there are no grades of pork as there are with beef, to ensure you get the best pork ribs simply pick a rack that has a deep pink colour.
Additionally, note that before we apply the rub on the ribs, it is also important to remove the membrane, which is found on the back of the bone-side of the ribs. This is however the most difficult thing to do as sometimes it all comes off in one piece and other times you just have to go at it in strips.
The best way to remove the membrane is to start at the narrowest end of the ribs on the bone-side of the ribs, and at this point, using your knife, lift up the corner of the membrane so you can grab a hold of it. Then grab the corner of the membrane with a paper towel and pull it straight up and away from the rack of ribs, sometimes it helps to just to run your fingers under it to push it along. Yes, I know it doesn’t sound like much fun but that’s really the only hard part in preparing these ribs! Trust me it will be worth it and once you do a few of these you’ll get the hang of it!
4 half racks of baby back ribs
3 tablespoons chili powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
BBQ sauce ingredients:
1 cup tomato ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
spicy baby back ribs
Cut a piece of aluminum foil double the length of a rib rack and place it on a baking sheet.
Once you have removed the membrane from the back of the pork ribs, place two racks on each baking sheet and sprinkle the chili powder all over both sides of the ribs and massage it in. If time permits it’s best to refrigerate the ribs, uncovered, for an hour or so, which will help the rub infuse the meat.
Preheat oven to 250oF. Fold the foil over the ribs so all the meat is covered and fold over all the edges to make a bundle. Then cut a couple of small vents with a knife on the top of each bundle.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 3 hours.
Then reduce the heat to 225oF and bake for another 2 hours.
After cooking for 5 hours the meat should be very tender and the meat should have started shrinking away from the bones.
While you are heating up the BBQ to high, you can prepare the sauce. In a medium saucepan stir together all of the ingredients for the sauce and place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook sauce uncovered, stirring occasionally, until all of the flavours are well blended for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat and set aside.
When ready to BBQ, oil the BBQ rack, season the ribs lightly with salt and pepper and and brush the top of the ribs liberally with the sauce and place face down (the side with the sauce) on the BBQ grill. (If you do not have a BBQ or just want to do these in the winter, preheat your oven broiler to high and place ribs face up with sauce on an oiled rack in a broiler pan.) Grill the ribs until caramelized, for about 8 to 10 minutes. Then turn ribs over and brush with additional sauce, and cook until caramelized for another 8 minutes.
Transfer ribs to a serving plate. For the perfect BBQ serve with corn on the cob and buttermilk coleslaw! Buttermilk coleslaw recipe follows!
This buttermilk coleslaw is my go-to summer BBQ salad! It is a great side to most meats that you will BBQ, such as beer-can chicken, baby back ribs, as shown above, or sausages. It is especially well paired when you’re serving up something that is spicy as it helps cut the spice with it’s creamy and rich buttermilk dressing. It is also perfect in a pulled pork sandwich too!
This is a great salad to prepare for a BBQ as it can be made in advance and refrigerated. My husband even prefers it the next day so you can even prepare it a day in advance if need be. It’s so easy and quick to put it together that you can also make it on a weeknight BBQ as you can whip this up in under 15 minutes!
Take note that even though the dressing tastes rich, it doesn’t necessarily have to be high in fat content. Yes, the buttermilk is low in fat, but feel free to use light mayonnaise and low-fat sour cream, as I do, it will cut down on the fat and be just as rich and creamy tasting!
1 small red onion (or ¼ of a large red onion) thinly sliced
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Packaged coleslaw (pre-cut green and red cabbage and carrots)
If there are no carrots in the packaged coleslaw julienne 1 carrot
I know, I know, wings are probably not the healthiest part of the chicken but these are so finger licking good you won’t be able to resist. Plus it’s summer time and they make a great appetizer to whatever you’re grilling on the BBQ. The wings are super easy to prepare as you get them started in the oven under the broiler and when you are ready to serve them just finish them off on the BBQ to get a bit of charring and the required grill marks before you toss them with the spicy sweet sauce. The whole process will take you under 30 minutes.
My only piece of advice with regards to these wings is that you should make more than you need, as it’s guaranteed that you and your guests will be begging for more!
Serves 6, about 5 wings per person
spicy sweet sticky wings
30 chicken wing pieces, cut at the joints and wingtips discarded
4 tablespoons of non-salted butter
¼ cup of jalapeno jelly or pepper jelly (you can find it at the grocery store where you will find canned or bottled grilled peppers)
2 tablespoons of honey or agave syrup
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon chile powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch each kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat broiler on high.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Rinse the chicken wings under cold water and pat dry. The wings you will get at the grocery store will mostly not be cut up. They are however easy to cut, just lay the whole wing flat on the cutting board, feel for the joint where the wing tip (smaller pointy section) connects to the rest of the wing. With the tip of the knife touching the cutting board, just cut straight through at the joint, which separates the wing tip from the wing. Discard the wing tip. Then locate the joint, which connects the wing and the small shaped drumstick, and by using the same technique simply cut through the joint to separate these two parts.
Arrange wings in a single layer on the baking sheet and place under the broiler for about 6 to 8 minutes until one side turns brown then turn all the wings over and broil for another 6 to 8 minutes until brown and cooked through.
In a small sauce pan melt butter over low heat then combine all of the remaining ingredients and heat through for about 5 minutes and keep warm on low until ready to serve the wings.
Heat BBQ over medium high heat and brush the BBQ grate with oil. When BBQ reaches a temperature between 375oF and 400oF, grill the wings over direct heat, turning frequently for about 4 to 5 minutes until they are nicely charred with grill marks.
In a large bowl combine the chicken wings and the spicy sweet sticky sauce. Let this all rest for about 5 minutes in the bowl. This will give the sauce some time to caramelize and thicken over the wings.
Then serve wings on a platter with a cold lager and make sure to get some extra napkins for your guests!
Spring is here and the BBQ is starting to work overtime! Here’s my favourite grilled lamb chop recipe, not only because it is super easy to prepare but most importantly because I wooed the man I would marry on the third date with these lamb chops!
They say you can win a man’s heart through his stomach. I’m sure there’s more to that, but I agree that good food does help! And serving lamb with mint jelly just doesn’t cut it, so if you want to make a lasting impression, whether for your date or for your guests, the best way to savour lamb chops is by grilling them on the BBQ with a herbes de provence marinade.
lamb chops with herbes de provence
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon dried herbes de provences
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 medium size lamb chops, trimmed of fat
squeeze of lemon
Mix first 6 ingredients together in a small bowl.
Rub marinade lightly on each of side of the chops, you don’t want the marinade to overpower the meat as the meat is so flavourful.
Let chops sit at room temperature for a half an hour. Or you can cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours, just make sure to let the chops stand at room temperature at least 20 minutes before grilling.
Heat grill at medium-high and grill each chop for 3-4 minutes each side depending on thickness (about 3 minutes if an inch thick and 4 minutes if thicker). Ideally lamb chops should be served medium-rare to medium, often referred to as rosé.
You can then let chops rest for 5 minutes before serving and then just squeeze a little lemon on top of each chop.
These lamb chops go well with a Greek salad. That’s it, it’s that easy!