Friday, February 24, 2012

Slow Cooked: Baby Back Ribs

Slow cooking is the ultimate case of delayed gratification. It reminds me of that experiment they did on the preschoolers, where they offered them a chocolate/marshmallow/gummy bear, but told them that if they wait in the room, alone with the gummy bear, and not eat it until the adult comes back, they will have TWO gummies.

Sure, you could have ribs right away, but if you cook them at a low temperature, and wait a few hours, the meat will be so tender, juicy, and practically falling off the bone mouth-watering-delicious.

Luckily, it isn't 3 full hours of cooking time with a hungry chef confined to the kitchen, but since it smells so good, you might spend the hours there willingly.

This was not my first time making these ribs. This was, however, my first time making these ribs and enjoying them on the same night for dinner.

My ribs Dos and Don't

-DO read the full recipe before the night you plan on making them.
This will prevent you from coming home from work only to realize that dinner is going to cook for 2 hours, after marinating for one.

-DO use an oven thermometer.
This way, you know you are using the right temperature, and the ribs will take closer to the listed 2.5 hours, and not 4+ hours

-DON'T use regular-sized tin foil
The regular foil rolls will not make a large enough piece. Out of desperation, DON'T use two halves per slab of ribs. Later in the recipe, this will lead to juices flowing away from the ribs, and you'll end up with dryer meat, and less glaze.

-DO consider making these on your day off and be prepared for any obstacles along the way.
Once you make these ribs, error free, they are so, SO, worth the effort.

Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs

Slightly adapted from Alton Brown


  • 2 slabs pork baby back ribs

Dry Rub:

  • 8 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Braising Liquid:

  • 1 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 chopped cloves garlic


Mix the dry rub ingredients in a bowl.

With a baking sheet underneath, Place the slabs of ribs on two separate pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil, (wider than regular foil) making sure that the shiny side is not touching the meat. Sprinkle each side of the slabs with the dry rub. Pat and spread over the meat. Using neat folds, bring in the long sides of the foil, fold them down, before folding the short ends. (Watch Alton do it on this video, about a minute and a half in.) Refrigerate the ribs for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Combine the ingredients for the braising liquid in a microwavable bowl, and heat on high for one minute.

Open one short end of each foil piece, forming it into the shape of a funnel. Pour half of the braising liquid into each foil "container", tilting the baking sheet up so that the liquid distributes evenly in the foil with the ribs. Close the foil, and braise the ribs in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours, or until you can twist one of the middle rib bones and feel it has loosened from the cartilage.

After the ribs have been braised, open the foil funnels and carefully pour the braising liquid into a medium sauce pan. Bring the liquid to a steady simmer and reduce by half, until you have a thick glaze. Brush the syrupy glaze on the ribs. Place the slabs under the broiler and caramelize the tops.

Slice into two-three rib bone portions, and serve with remaining hot glaze.

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