Want to make fall-off-the-bone ribs, in half the time, with no fuss?
BBQ is an art form and a big deal. Cities the world-over hold annual rib fest where venders train all year long to flaunt their meaty muscles.
So much goes into BBQ and it takes a long time. A pit master might tend to the fire for upwards of 15 hours. Other factors matter, like the type of wood used, the amount of coals, the surrounding wind and the temperature.
It's a labor of love and we all love it, that tender, juicy meat - that smoky bark - that sticky, tangy, spicy, sweet sauce that coats our fingers and our faces as we go all in.
With all that time and knowledge, it seems natural that, when upon seeing a pack of vacuumed-packed ribs in your local supermarket, you might shudder with fear and hurry by.
Make no mistake, I am not comparing this recipe with those of rib masters. Heck, this recipe doesn't even involve smoke, but it still delivers, tasty, fall-off-the-bone ribs and even a little bark too.
I first discovered this method from Bobby Flay. Most oven-baked recipes involve the "low and slow" approach, cooking ribs at a temperature of around 225 degrees for 3 hours or more. Flay cooks his ribs at the maximum heat for just over an hour.
The trick is to set the ribs on a raised rack inside a pan with at least 2-inch sides. (I use a half-sheet cake pan.) Fill the pan with liquid, and cover tightly with foil, allowing for the ribs to steam. The other thing I do that would make a pit master's eyes roll is buy jarred barbecue sauce. Many of those great masters actually bottle their own sauce, any way, and you can buy them, but I just buy what I like or what's on sale and it turns out great every time.
For the steam, Flay uses water, orange juice, ginger and soy sauce, but you can just use water or impart different flavors by getting creative with other ingredients.
Tender to-the-Bone Oven-Roasted Ribs
1 rack of baby-back ribs (2 1/2 -3 1/2 lb.)
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 cup soy sauce
8 cups water
2 tsp ground ginger
Juice of one orange
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked, black pepper
2 cups of BBQ sauce (plus more if desired)
Preheat your oven to the broil setting (550 degrees F.)
Pour soy sauce and water in the pan. Add the ginger and orange juice and stir.
Place a raised rack inside a pan with sides at least 2 inches high. Pat the ribs with paper towels until they are dry and place them on the rack. Rub the ribs on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Cover the ribs tightly with foil, place covered ribs on the middle rack in the oven, and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Open the oven and carefully remove the foil. Baste the top of the ribs with barbecue sauce and broil for 3-5 minutes or until desired browns is achieved. Flip Ribs over and repeat on the rib's underside. Make sure to keep a close watch.
Carefully take pan out of oven (the liquid will be extremely hot). Baste with more sauce and serve.
Once your ribs are cooked, you can finish them on the grill (following the same steps listed above). Also, I find the easiest way to cut ribs is from the underside. You'll see the bones instead of the meat and easily cut between them. Lastly, if you want the meat to fall completely off the bone, once they’ve been cooked, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Shut the oven off and keep them in there for another hour or two then finish as directed above.