One of my favourite meals to go out for is ribs and sweet potato fries at Baton Rouge. Or, at least, it used to be one of my favourites. That was before I decided to try making them myself.
I have a rule about ordering food in restaurants – I only order what I don’t or can’t make at home. It’s not that the food isn’t good, it’s just that I usually prefer how I make it. Every once in a while, I’m surprised, but more often than not, I am disappointed with my meal. The reverse of this rule is also true – if I love a meal in a restaurant, I don’t make it at home because then I might not be able to go out for it again! (I’m looking at you, East Side Marios, with your linguine chicken amatriciana – now I figured that out, I can’t go back!).
With these rules in mind, I decided that I wouldn’t make ribs. I honestly thought they’d be too hard to make at home (I had eaten some tough ribs while visiting friends). But in a moment of trying to stick to a tighter budget, I attempted ribs for the first time. And the results were amazing.
What I have discovered is that you just need a good rub, a low oven, and lots of time. I prefer making back ribs, because they’re more tender. But I also only have one other adult and a child who eat small quantities of meat to feed. If you’re feeding a crowd, baby back ribs can get really expensive. But if you can find them on sale (or supplement with chicken rubbed in the same rub), these are really worth it.
The rub keeps for a long time, so you can definitely make extra and save it for other meat. I typically only use half (again, because we’re a small family). And as for finishing the ribs, you don’t have to barbecue them – they’re tender and cooked right from the oven. But if you like the crisped fat and burn marks, then go for it.
Ribs – from The Looneyspoons Collection
(makes 2 racks, about 2 1/2 lbs each)
What you need:
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- barbecue sauce (optional)
What to do:
- Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Place each slab of ribs on a large piece of aluminum foil. Rub rib rub all over the ribs and wrap each rack tightly in foil.
- Place wrapped ribs side by side on a baking sheet and bake at 275F for 2 1/2 hours.
Optional instructions if you want to grill the ribs:
- Remove the ribs from the oven and let stand covered while you preheat the grill.
- Carefully remove the ribs from the foil and cut them into manageable sized pieces.
- Place the ribs on a lightly oiled grill.
- Slather ribs with barbecue sauce and grill for a few minutes on each side, just enough to caramelize the sauce and crisp up the fat. Be careful not to burn them! (or to leave too much fat in the barbecue).
- Serve with your favourite sides.