I have to tell you, when I first moved to Reno, and I heard about the Rib Cook-Off, I was unimpressed. Then I went, I ate, I conquered. And now I look forward to it every year. Last year, I even convinced my mom and dad to come down and check it out for themselves. Dad refused to go (the people!) but Mom and I braved it. And it was worth it. Bone Daddy’s is my favorite vendor; everyone has a favorite, and one they stand by. Every year when I go to the Rib Cook Off, I skip around singing “It’s the Most. Wonderful Time. Of the year!!” Oh, how I loves me some porky goodness.
Making ribs at home, while sublime, isn’t as easy. It is a pretty long process to make that pig flesh tasty, but man, is it EVER worth it. When I am feeling lazy, I use store-bought BBQ sauce, usually Sweet Baby Ray’s (Chicago BBQ) or Stubb’s (Texan BBQ). But when I am feeling especially adventurous, I use the following recipe, and although it isn’t as good as some at the Rib Cook Off, I like it. Feel free to tweak it to make it your own!
2 slabs baby back pork ribs
coarsely ground black pepper + 1/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon ground red chile pepper + 1/2 tablespoon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup vinegar (I use Apple Cider, but you can use white)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dark molasses
1. Preheat oven to 300 degree F.
2. Sprinkle ribs with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon chile pepper. Place in a roaster and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Keep an eye on them. You don’t want them to cook too long and get dry, but you want to get them tender.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Stir in water, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, liquid smoke, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, dark molasses, and 1/2 tablespoon ground chile pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 1 1/4 hours, uncovered, or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, and set sauce aside.
4. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Let warm up. Lower the heat to the lowest setting.
5. Remove the ribs from the oven, and let stand 10 minutes. Remove the racks from the foil, and place on the grill. Here is where my rib grilling experiences have taught me a few things, and I am still learning. You want to put the ribs on bare, and on low heat to give it some flavor.
Be sure you do not put the ribs on and walk away while there is a grease fire going on, as I did the other day.
Grill the ribs for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Brush sauce on the ribs while they’re grilling, over low heat. I like my sauce crispy and done.
So, there you go. One of my BBQ rib recipes. Some might think it is a little too sweet, and if so, just cut back on the honey or sugar a bit and toss in more chili powder. You are all set! Enjoy, and don’t forget to go to the Rib Cook Off and decide which ribs are YOUR favorite!