I love barbecue ribs, but as with most barbecue (not to be confused with grilling), it seems like a long, drawn-out, finicky process. After all, they have competition shows about such matters in which contestants treat barbecue like a series of impossible secret equations that we philistines can never comprehend. I have spent endless hours trying to perfect ribs, even going so far as to drag out the seasoning-marinating-smoking-finishing hoopla for days. And you know what I got for all of that work? My husband shrugged his shoulders and said, “Meh…”
After a little more trial and error, I finally figured out that good, tender, everyday ribs really aren’t that difficult after all. You just have to back away from the culture of barbecue snobbery and quit overthinking it. With only a few minutes of effort, I figured out a stupid-easy way to cook a rack of ribs that my husband loved, and earned me a happy Sunday afternoon. Here’s how I did it:
Bayou-Mama's Stupid-Easy Baby Back Ribs
- 1 rack (or more if you want) baby back ribs
- Several teaspoons of your favorite BBQ rub (can be homemade or store-bought. I just grabbed some from the store…it was Sunday, people)
- Your favorite BBQ sauce
- 1 bottle of beer (I snagged a bottle of Shiner Bock from my husband)
- Tools: a roasting pan with a rack, and heavy duty foil. You can add a brush if you really want to feel like the Julia Child of Barbecue.
Wow, that’s a whole bunch of stuff, isn’t it? How will we manage?
First, I seasoned both sides of the ribs liberally with the BBQ rub. You can let this sit overnight in the fridge if you have the time, but it’s not necessary. Next, I sprayed the bottom of a roasting pan with non-stick spray (for easier clean up) and placed a baking rack in the pan. This kept the ribs elevated so they would have heat circulating all around them. It also prevented them from basically boiling in their own liquid.
Next, I poured the beer in the bottom of the pan and covered the whole she-bang tightly with foil. I placed the pan in a pre-heated 275 degree oven and let it bake for about 2 to 2/2 hours. When I took it out of the oven, it looked like this:
Don’t worry, it gets better, I promise. I then liberally brushed the ribs with BBQ sauce, recovered them with foil, and baked them for about 45 minutes to an hour:
So, I had perfectly cooked, tender ribs but I wanted to firm up that sauce for a more caramelized finish. I placed the ribs uncovered under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes, watching carefully to prevent those annoying unattended broiler mishaps:
The result was fall-off-the-bone perfection that was far superior to any of my previous attempts at the perfect rib rain dance. The only catch is that it truly takes several hours in the oven, but you just can’t get around that. I said it was stupid-easy, not magic.
Now, if my husband could only streamline his lasagna (but that would probably involve handcuffing our toddler):