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Dec 7, 2006 12:58 PM

1-1/2 lbs pork spareribs and no smoker -- ideas?

I received one slab of "pork spare ribs" from my CSA pork share. I'm eager to cook them, but I don't have a smoker. I tried baking ribs in the past -- Oprah's supposed favorite ribs (baked -- w/ peppers and onions?!)-- were, in my opinion, a disaster taste and texture-wise. I once incinerated baby backs on the grill.

I need guidance on how to make the most of what should be good quality tasty meat (the loin and sausage was terrific). I love smoked ribs, like Asian style preparations.

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  1. If you go to the America's Test Kitchen website you should be able to find a recipe for oven-smoked ribs which uses tea leaves to provide the smoke.

    1. Though a couple of people had dryness issues with this recipe, I have had no problem with them and have converted people who were indifferent to ribs to ribs lovers.

      1. It's not the traditional BBQ- or Chinese-type preparation for ribs, but I just adore Marcella Hazan's Pan-Roasted Spareribs with Sage and White Wine. They're positively addictive.

        1. I'd smoke them on the grill. Use a smoker box made for a grill (or aluminum foil) to hold Hickory chips. Keep the temp down, use indirect heat and keep adding wood chips as needed.

          I don't have a smoker, but use this method once a year or so and it's always provided tasty and excellent meats. It's a bit more work though.

          1. I've had people tell me my ribs are the best they have had. Here is my technique:

            Carefully remove the membrane on the back side of the ribs. Trim the ribs if needed. Rub your favorite spice rub on both sides of the ribs. Wrap loosely in foil and refridgerate for up to two days. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet at 250 degrees for two hours or slightly more. When you remove the ribs from the oven, save the pan juices and the juices trapped in the foil. Its a significant quanity. Reduce the pan juices about 90% in a small pot on the stove. Add a modest amount of vinegar based bbq sauce so you have a concentrated meat flavor enlivened by a spicy, tangy vinegar sauce. You can put the ribs back in the refridgerator until you are ready to grill them. I grill them on a gas grill with indirect heat for about 20 minutes per side until you have a beautiful brown crust on both sides. Then I cut them up and spoon the reduced sauce over them.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Rhee

              Yep, this is a great way to do babyback ribs; dry rub & marinate for a day or 2; slow cook in oven, covered at a low temp and then finish on the grill. OP did not say that the ribs they have right now are babybacks or not.

              1. re: Rhee

                I have the ribs marinating in a dry spicy rub to cook tomorrow. Though they're labeled "spare ribs" they look to be baby backs -- a full rack weighing 1-1/2 lbs.

                I'll bake them covered in alumnimum foil. I was wondering if they'll dry out, but I guess wrapped -- loosely? -- in foil should do the trick.
                Since it's too cold here to use my grill, can I finish cooking uncovered in the oven? High heat or broiler? Got a recipe/name brand for vinegar-based bbq sauce?
                thanks much.