The secret to meltingly tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs is to cook them for a long time over low heat, giving the tough connective tissues a chance to break down before finishing them on the grill. This makes it easy: the initial cooking can be done in the oven up to a day or two in advance, then all you need to do is brush your racks of ribs with sauce and toss them on the grill for 15 minutes to warm through and caramelize on the outside.
3-4 lb pork baby back or side ribs, trimmed of excess fat (about 2 racks)
2-4 tbsp (30-60 ml) dry barbecue spice rub (optional)
1/2-1 cup bottled barbecue sauce (or any 125-250 ml bottled sauce, such as teriyaki)
1. Pat the ribs dry with paper towel, then sprinkle with a dry spice rub or lightly with salt and pepper. Rub the seasoning into the meat with your fingers, covering it completely on both sides.
2. Place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Preheat the oven to 300°F and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from the oven and if you’re preparing them ahead of time, cool and refrigerate for up to 2 days. (They can stay on the sheet; cover with plastic wrap once cooled.)
3. When you’re ready to cook, preheat your grill to medium and brush your ribs with barbecue sauce (or the sauce of your choice). Grill for 15-20 minutes, brushing with more sauce, turning occasionally and watching that they don’t burn. High sugar sauces can darken quickly. If this is occurring, turn the heat down or move the ribs to a cooler spot on the grill.
4. Separate the ribs and serve immediately.
509 calories, 35 g fat (13.3 g saturated fat, 15.8 g monounsaturated fat, 6 g polyunsaturated fat), 39 g protein, 5.7 g carbohydrates, 142 mg cholesterol, 0 g fibre.
Cook the ribs a day or two ahead, then refrigerate them in foil until it’s time to BBQ. Add extra sauce when you grill and you’re good to go!
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, July 2012