How would you cook these ribs?
The butcher called them baby backs, but they are very meaty and the rack weighs three pounds, so that's some big baby! Anyhow, I'd like to cook them mostly in the oven and then finish them on the grill with a tangy sauce. My problem is the cooking time and temperature. Every recipe I see has it different, and I don't know which to trust.
So I'd like to hear from frequent, successful rib cooks. How would you do it?
Coat both sides with your favourite rub (I do have a recipe if you want it), place on a large cookie sheet (bone-side-down so that there's space underneath) and bake at 300o for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Don't cover them or anything. They should be fork-tender. You can either grill them right away with whatever barbecue sauce you like (I prefer very lightly sauced) or you can refrigerate until you want to grill them, then sauce and grill until heated through and charred. Absolutely bombproof and delicious.
I do pretty much the same as you do with the dry rub, the low/slow roasting, and finishing on the grill. However, I place the ribs in a shallow roasting pan which I cover tightly with foil. I also do a bit of prep before the rub. If there's an extra flap of meat on the bone side, I remove it and cook it along with the ribs. Then I remove the sinewy membrane from the bone side of the ribs. To do that, I cut a small slit in the membrane with the tip of a knife, then I grab the corner of the membrane with a paper towel and slowly pull it away from the bones. After the membrane is removed I poke a fork through the meat between the bones (I think that's called "docking"). That provides extra flavor by allowing the rub to penetrate deeper into the meat.
I usually mix up a triple or quadruple amount of this and keep it around. It's also great on pork shoulder (for pulled pork):
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. paprika (if you have smoked paprika, even better!)
1/2 tbsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tbsp. black pepper
1/2 tbsp. chili powder (cayenne)
We have been seeing these off and on at the local market with the name “extra meaty back ribs”. It looks like what is going on is they are leaving a bit more meat on the bone when they butcher the carcass. I’d just braise or bake in the oven until the meat just starts to pull away from the bone (no specific time), then onto the grill.
I use this method when preparing large amounts of ribs to reduce grill time. Season your ribs as you like (I use a dry rub of granulated garlic & onion, lemon pepper, paprika, brown sugar & season salt). Double wrap in heavy duty foil & seal tight. Place on sheet in 375 oven for 40 minutes while preheating your grill. Remove from oven, unseal & drain away accululated liquids. Place entire packet on grill & start basting with your sauce turning once. VOILA! I don't claim them to be true BBQ but it works for me in a pinch.
When I do oven cooed baby back ribs (which i have done for over 10 years) i do two slabs per lipped cookie sheet side by side.
Firs i brine ribs in salt/sugar water mixture for 1 to 2 hours.
Pull ribs and put on paper towel to dry
I rub with salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, paprika, brown sugar, coffee, and dried oregano mixture both sides. (wrap in plastic for 2 hours if you have the time)
I preheat oven to 325 and cook for somewhere between 2 to 2-1/4 hours.
I do cover the ribs and entire cookie sheet with foil sealed at edges prior to cooking and and then toss on teh grill or under the broiler for 3 minutes each side to crisp up the outside.
I've tried doing it unfoiled but found the ribs tend to dry a bit due to the their being thin by nature but adding liquid under the foil (a'la the Alton Brown method which I tried twice and did not like either time) will cause a braise allowing little or no browness of the outside of the meat.. The foil tent may be a little humid but not the bath of a braising.
Cooking half way in teh oven and moving to the grill for me had had poor results with teh pork not being cooking long enough at low and slow due to grill heat and thus a tough inside and overly cooked or charred outside trying to for the pork to cook at too high a temp and too fast. thus forcing the issue.
i also always just add warmed BBQ sauce when pulled from teh grill and serve on ide as some folks like naked ribs and others like sauced.
I'm not a big fan of cleaning sticky BBQ sauce off the grill grates (especially with so much sugar) and many folks do not sauced ribs.
This is a tried and true process by me, and the one I use when I;m not using my two outdoor smokers or Weber.
All of the above methods will work great if you like the soft, falling off the bone type of rib. But if you want them thick and juicy with a crackly crust, still really moist and with a bit of chew (more like a thick juicy steak) than you don't have to do them low and slow at all.
Simply season them well with salt and pepper to taste, and grill them over a medium grill or in a 400F oven for about 45 minutes. If you do them in the oven you can finish on the grill for some nice grill marks.
These ribs are naturally tender so they don't really need the low & slow treatment like spareribs do. After all, they are from the "Prime Rib" of the pig. You can do this with Beef Back Ribs as well.
I'll concede to acgold7's suggestion but having grown up on and recently eaten ribs cooked this way (i would never cook them that way myself) many times with the latest being at my sister's house on teh 4th of July, it can be a tricky dish to pull off correctly.
The 4th of July ribs were cooked over a hot gas grill and basted at the end with BBq sauce and , to me, ended up tasting rather tough and too chewy, much like an over cooked thin sliced pork chop but with a lot more fat since it did not have a chance to render out.. Any less time and they would have not been done. Any more time and , well, it would have been worse. Another case as sauce as a crutch and not a good end product.
Lean cuts like pork chops and tenderloins love a fast hot cook. Now considering the loin and the ribs location, one would think fast will work. It may and can as acgold7 points out.. But for me I'm not going to run the chance of baby backs at $13 a slab grocery price to come out like shoe leather when other options exist. No way. No how.
I'm a f*&king good cook, but "ice skating uphill" with them is not my idea of good odds nor good eats.
But, if you feel like ya wanna, go for it.
Interesting. I've never had this problem and it sounds like the heat was too high. Try Uncle Bob's method below... sounds a lot like what I'm suggesting, but he wrote it out better. Mine have never come out like anything other than a Pig Prime Rib.
For a less risky version, an hour in the oven at 375 is pretty foolproof.