Oven Baked BBQ Ribs – Improving on Perfection

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I always thought I had a pretty good idea of the kind of parent I wanted to be, or at least I thought I did.  I had probably been keeping a mental list since I was four years old.  No I was not one of those girls with the baby dolls that knew since she was four that she wanted to be a mom and no judgment to you ladies out there who were.  I only wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up at four let alone 34!  But that is a whole different discussion.

I viewed every adult interaction around me as an interview for “could you be my mom or dad.”  Not that I was looking to fill a space or anything, I was perfectly happy with both but, you know, always curious if the grass was greener.

Lesson #1 I will never force my kids to eat foods they hate by mashing all of their food together in one lumpy, brown-gray, disgusting mess.  Yes this happened. No not to me. Might explain why I never slept over someone’s house . . .

Lesson #2 You are never too young to play with makeup.  Thank you Aunt S and the 1980s for allowing me to play endlessly with a ginormous box of eye shadow.  No embarrassing teenage make-up photos here, #lessismore.  Hair on the other hand . .

Lesson #3 Anyone under 10 should not decorate their room by themselves unless they get a do over at 14.  Love you Mom and probably thought you were the worlds best Mom when you let me and RaRa decorate our rooms when we were 8 and 4, respectfully.  The result a disaster mess of pink and wicker that I lived with all throughout high school.  No amount of Abosolut ads could cover those flower heart wreaths. I still don’t even know what I was thinking with the mismatched pink carpet!

Lesson #4 Your kid’s life is exactly that . . theirs, don’t use it as a do-over for yours. Of all the parental lessons I learned as a kid, this one was the biggest aha and took me the longest to realize.  I’ll be honest, sometimes I look at my son and am totally envious of the long and meandering path of life he has in front of him.  He can literally be or do anything he wants. Right now all he wants to do is be at a playground all day or on an airplane to Hawaii – both solid choices – but he does what makes him happy. My only ask is that happiness continue to guide his decisions. So many of us grown-ups forget to do what makes us happy.  Wouldn’t life be so much simpler?

So that is why I broke my family dinner rule this past Sunday night.  I knew if my son tried the BBQ ribs I was making he would love them but I also knew that getting him to try it would mean a ruined dinner for everyone.  Have you ever tried negotiating with a two-year old?  So I caved and made him the two-year-old equivalent to fall-off-the-bone-BBQ-ribs, a hot dog.  The result pure happiness . . . for everyone.

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Oven Baked BBQ Ribs 

Time: 3.5 hours

1 rack of baby back pork ribs

1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce (I am loving TJs Sweet Carolina BBQ Sauce)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Place the rack of baby back ribs on a cookie sheet and cook, uncovered for 1.5 hours.  You can season the ribs with salt and pepper if you like. If your rack of ribs is small or lean I might cut back on this timing by 15 minutes to prevent from drying out.

Cover ribs and continue to cook for 1 hour.

Uncover ribs and slather in your favorite BBQ sauce (I generally only use 1/4 to 1/2 of a jar).  Return to oven, uncovered for another half an hour.

Cut and serve.

Note: I have done this with St. Louis style ribs and just increased the cooking time by half an hour – i cooked uncovered for 1:45 and covered for 1:15.

Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

Confession – after 5 years of living in an apartment the longing for a BBQ has finally found us. I think it started a few months ago when we went to a friends house warming party in the city and instantly became jealous of their side patio and BBQ. Then it was a “come celebrate our finished patio party” for friends in the burbs and again jealously hit not only for their BBQ but also their amazing vegetable garden. The icing on the cake, our summer Cook’s Illustrated arrived and nearly every recipe in the magazine requires a grill. Really!?! Our jealously for the grill even had us contemplating (only for a split second) relocating. Yes there were other factors involved like sunshine, more space, a garage, a washer / dryer, and, of course, a backyard with a grill. But we just couldn’t stomach leaving our apartment, we just love it too much. So coming to terms with our grill-less state it is. To try to justify to ourselves that we didn’t need a grill I decided to figure out a way to cook my most favorite summer BBQ food ever  sans BBQ. Bring on the baby back ribs. After consulting many different recipes, I decided to go with Mark Bittman’s brown, braise, broil method with a few modifications, of course. It did not disappoint. The hubby and I enjoyed an AMAZING rack of fall-off-the-bone ribs without having to ditch our apartment for a BBQ. Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

Serves 2

1 rack of baby back ribs

1 bottle of dark beer (I used a porter)

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Your favorite BBQ sauce

Season the ribs with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ribs top side down and let sear for 5 minutes. Flip over and brown for an additional 5 minutes on the other side.

Turn off heat and remove ribs from the dutch oven. Let both the ribs and dutch oven cool down for 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 275.

Add the ribs back to the dutch oven with the dark beer. Cover and place in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours until the meat is totally tender.

Remove the ribs from the dutch oven and place on baking sheet.

Cover the ribs on both sides with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Turn the oven to broil and place the ribs under the broiler for 2-3 minutes per side. Just long enough to caramelize the sauce.

Cut and serve!

We enjoyed ours with mashed sweet potatoes and some type of fresh pea that you can eat without shelling.