Oven Baked BBQ Ribs

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs-Melt-in-your mouth ribs with crispy edges are a breeze to prepare with this easy recipe. No need to tend the grill for hours and perfect any time of year!

Melt-in-your mouth ribs with crispy edges are a breeze to prepare with this easy recipe. No need to tend the grill for hours and perfect any time of year!

 

 

Have you ever received a recipe from a trusted source, proceeded to tuck it safely into your recipe box where, despite the best of intentions, it sat untouched for months, maybe years?

Such is the case with the following recipe, and I can say with conviction that we’re now making up for lost time! These ribs are so much easier than the traditional preparation yet taste every bit as good.

The recipe originally came from my sister-in-law Mary’s mother-in-law, Soni. (Think that one through!) Soni is a great cook, and Mary and her family of growing boys had vouched for this recipe many times over the years.

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs-Melt-in-your mouth ribs with crispy edges are a breeze to prepare  with this easy recipe!
Oven Baked BBQ Ribs-Melt-in-your mouth ribs with crispy edges are a breeze to prepare  with this easy recipe!

The funny thing, however, is that I shared this recipe with a friend before I ever tried it myself. After hearing his rave reviews, I finally got busy.

The friend’s name is John Gerdy, and there’s an interesting story to tell about him.

For many years, John, a gifted writer and musician, was a stay at home Dad. As his children grew older, he found he had more time on his hands and, in his words, had a wonderful opportunity to reinvent himself.

He researched how school and community music programs were being cut at the same time loads of research was showing that music is an effective educational and community building tool.

John describes his next step as “one of those ‘think globally, act locally’ things.”

He got a few friends together and put on a “small” fundraiser-which ended up generating a whopping $11,000! The money was used to purchase instruments for the School District of Lancaster. With that, John created Music For Everyone (MFE).

Since that day in 2006, MFE has invested almost $1.7 million in school and community music programs in the form of instrument grants, instruction and general program support. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to elementary school string ensembles that were made possible through MFE-sponsored instruments and teachers. The performances were beyond impressive.

In addition to the world of opportunity MFE’s music education has opened to hundreds of boys and girls over the years, the organization has become famous in our town for their beloved Keys for the City program.

The third week of this month will mark the tenth year that MFE has placed pianos throughout the city for people to spontaneoulsy play and fill the streets with music. The pianos weather the elements from May through October, during which time random passersby are as likely to delight a growing crowd with some serious talent as they are are to pound out chopsticks.

Each piano is sponsored and decorated by a local company or organization. Beyond the joyful sound of music, the annual arrival of pianos supplies vibrant art and a sense of inspiration and renewal to our city. And they’re plain old fun!

When I ran into John at a neighborhood restaurant last fall, our conversation turned to food and his need for a reliable rib recipe that didn’t rely on a grill or good weather to enjoy. At home later that evening, I dug this time-tested meal out of my old recipe box and promptly passed it along.

John reported that the recipe was everything he hoped it would be. He noted that the taste does, in fact, improve when one cooks and eats with music in the background; his personal preference is Blues music.

Knowing that, whenever possible, I like to provide options within my recipes, John also mentioned that a simple store-bought barbecue sauce will become infinitely tastier with the addition of two ounces of bourbon, a tablespoon spoon of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning and the juice of one squeezed lemon. I cannot claim to have tried, but John assures a welcome jolt.

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs-Melt-in-your mouth ribs with crispy edges are a breeze to prepare  with this easy recipe!

Sprinkle the easy rub all over the ribs, wrap in foil and then bake as directed.

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs-Melt-in-your mouth ribs with crispy edges are a breeze to prepare  with this easy recipe!

Once baked to tender perfection, the ribs are removed from the oven, cut into pieces, coated with BBQ sauce and broiled (or grilled) until caramelized and utterly perfect!

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs-Melt-in-your mouth ribs with crispy edges are a breeze to prepare  with this easy recipe!

Serve with traditional side dishes like baked beans and cole slaw-or try my Favorite Broccoli Salad! For a variation on typical baked beans, you may enjoy this Barbecued Bean Salad or a twist on the standard 3-Bean Salad, which can be prepared with a cilantro-lime or orange-basil vinaigrette.

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs
Yield: 6 servings
Melt-in-your mouth ribs with crispy edges are a breeze to prepare with this easy recipe. No need to tend the grill for hours and perfect any time of year!
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds pork ribs (I use baby back ribs)
  • 1 teaspoon hickory smoked salt* (may substitute 1½ to 2 teaspoons hickory liquid smoke) and freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ cup (150g) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 1½ cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (I use homemade or Sweet Baby Ray’s), plus for more serving, if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and line a rimmed baking sheet with two layers of foil or one piece of heavy duty foil.
  2. Peel off the tough membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs. (I use the tip of a sharp knife to get it started and get my finger underneath. John reaches for needle nose pliers. Either way, once you get a grip on the edge, the membrane will peel right off. The cooked ribs will be more tender if the membrane is removed. Depending on where you buy your ribs, this may have been done for you.)
  3. Season the ribs on both sides with the smoked salt and pepper.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Apply the rub to all sides of the ribs. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all stick.
  5. Lay ribs on the prepared baking sheet, meaty side down. Lay two layers of foil (or one piece of heavy duty foil) on top of the ribs and roll and crimp the edges tightly. (I make sure the edges are sealed but I do leave a little space for air to circulate in the packet.)
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 2 – 2½ hours or until the meat starts to shrink away from the ends of the bone and is tender. (If the ribs are especially large and meaty, I’ve let them go an extra 20-30 minutes.) Remove from oven and heat broiler.
  7. Carefully open the foil (there will be hot steam) and remove the ribs to a cutting board. (You may drain off and discard the liquid and grease that have cooked out of the ribs.) Cut the ribs into serving sized portions of 2 or 3 ribs and arrange on a lightly greased or sprayed broiler pan, bony side up. (A baking/cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet works well, too.) Brush on half of the sauce.
  8. Broil for 1-2 minutes, watching very closely, or until the sauce is cooked on and bubbly.
  9. Remove from the oven, turn the ribs over, brush with the remaining sauce and broil the other side as you did the first.
  10. Alternately, instead of broiling you can grill the ribs in order to caramelize the sauce.
Notes & Tips

*I’ve used the smoked salt and liquid smoke with good results. My favorite is Spice Island’s Old Hickory Smoked Salt, which is available at many large grocery stores. In a pinch, you could go without and use regular salt instead. In that case, you could try using a half tablespoon each smoked and regular paprika in the rub to add some smoky flavor.

I’ve used this recipe for a larger quantity of ribs and have simply increased the spices proportionately.

A relative who makes this recipe regularly said she sometimes adds some ground espresso to the spice rub. I’ve been meaning to try (but haven’t yet), thinking a small amount would likely add an extra layer of interest to the ribs.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Following is a photo of some of the students who benefit from Music For Everyone, followed by some of the pianos (and spontaneous music makers!) from recent years.

For more information or to find out how you can be a part of this amazing organization, visit MusicForEveryone.org.

Music For Everyone - Keys for the City Music For Everyone - Keys for the CityMusic For Everyone - Keys for the City
Music For Everyone - Keys for the CityMusic For Everyone - Keys for the CityMusic For Everyone - Keys for the City  Music For Everyone - Keys for the City
Slow Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Slow-grilled baby back ribs have long been my go-to rib preparation-another family favorite for sure. They are truly fabulous and provide an option for those who have the forethought to apply the dry rub the day before and not stray too far from the grill during the hours they take to cook to tender perfection.

 

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