“Easy peasy,” as former Navy SEAL character Sam Axe (played by actor Bruce Campbell) from the television series BURN NOTICE would say, indicating that the mission they were about to undertake would be ridiculously easy and simple. Of course, on the TV series, we know that didn’t always happen, but in the world of properly grillied baby back ribs, this recipe is really very simple and easy to execute.
Charcoal vs. Propane – There is no doubt that charcoal-grilled ribs is not so much cooking as an art form. And I salute those who swear by the charcoal process. For me, I’m just more of an open flame guy (except for my Char-Broil Infrared Grill which I just love!), and my preferred cooking method is propane.
I can say from personal experience, over the years, I have made just about all the mistakes one can make while grillin’ ribs. Overcooked – burned – didn’t pay close enough attention – too much flame…well, the list is almost endless. But it’s not impossible to chow down on some ribs that have been properly propane-grilled, and what’s more important, you can do it! If after checking out this recipe, you are still one of the true die-hard grillsmen who are dedicated to the art of charcoal grillin’, then check out my fellow bloggers at Patrons of the Pit, where you’ll find some keen insight and excellent instruction in the art of proper charcoalin’.
I was looking for the perfect combination of oven-cooked ribs finished on the grill, and this recipe is one of the best I’ve found that ensures the ribs are well-cooked, but also provides the added element of the grilled barbeque taste — all without having to worry. I won’t say this recipe is foolproof, but you’d really have to work at it to screw this one up.
Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min
Serves: 4 servings
Bourbon/Beer Barbeque Sauce
1/2 cup bourbon or good dark beer (I don’t usually keep bourbon around the house as I am a martini guy, but there’s always a bit of dark beer about – todays, choice is Beck’s Dark)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon regular or grainy Dijon mustard (I prefer grainy)
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse Kosher salt
Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups, but you’ll want to reserve 1/2 cup and set aside to be used when grilling the ribs. The remainder will be used for brushing the cooked ribs or for dipping.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Divide each rack in half by cutting the ribs crosswise. Using 1/2 cup of the prepared sauce, pour over the ribs, giving extra attention to the meaty side. Pat down the sauce with a thick brush and/or rub the sauce in a bit with your fingers. When sufficiently coated, place the rib pieces meaty side down in an 11 by 13-inch Pyrex/Anchor, or similar oven-proof baking dish. If they overlap somewhat, that’s fine.
Cover the dish tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil, (shiny side down to reflect maximum heat) place in the heated 350 degree oven, and bake for about 1 hour.
When the meat begins to shrink up a bit and pull away from the ends of the bones and the ribs are just beginning to become tender, remove them from the oven.
Baking the ribs to this point can be done up to a day before you want to grill them. Just place them (covered) in the refrigerator. (Just remember to bring the refrigerated ribs to room temperature about 1 hour before you grill them.)
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat level. Granted this recipe was prepared using a propane-powered, open flame grill, and that will work just fine. But, I also love my infrared grill, which allows me to achieve the high temperatures I want without the open flames. As such, propane grilling is also an art in its own right, and I remain a staunch supporter of “open-flame” grilling.
When the ribs are placed on the grill, brush them with about half the reserved sauce, until they’re crispy and heated through, usually no more than about 10 minutes. You may have to move the ribs around as they grill, because the sugar in the barbecue sauce has an inherent tendency to burn easily.
Whatever you do, don’t walk off an leave them. Stay close by and keep and eye on them, which is why a cold beer is a great accompaniment to this process. (Hold beer in hand, watch ribs closely. Rinse and repeat.)
When they’re done, place the ribs on a cutting board, and allow them to “rest” for 5 to 10 minutes.
They should look something like this!
After the cool-down period, cut them into 1 or 2-bone pieces, which makes for nice finger-pickin’ serving and dippin’ sizes.
Put out the rest of the sauce for dipping or brush it over the ribs.
Serve with the dipping sauce and your choice of accompaniments. Today’s side dish at our house was Southern Style Collard Greens and boiled red potatoes.
Adapted from a Food Network recipe