Back ribs are one of my favorite culinary secrets. They present beautifully and they taste like much more expensive meat. Once you know how to cook them, they’ll be one of your favorite secrets too.
If you want to serve an impressive-looking piece of meat, but you don’t want to go for a flanken roast (the best for those who like tender meat) or a prime rib (the best for those who like steaks), then back ribs are really the way to go.
Why We Like Back Ribs
They look and taste like an expensive piece of meat, but they cost much less than, let’s say, short ribs. I was first introduced to back ribs when Leah and I were working on the first Secret Restaurant Recipes and Chef Daniel, then of T Fusion Steakhouse, shared the recipe for the restaurant’s famous appetizer, the Bourbon Ribs.
Why This Recipe
I’ve been making the recipe from T Fusion forever, but since then, I’ve wanted to have more versions of back ribs in the repertoire, and easier ones wouldn’t hurt either! This one features a spice rub that uses ingredients that you already have in the spice drawer (well, you better have smoked paprika if you want to be my friend). (A note on my spice drawer: I have since moved my spices to a bigger drawer and have added prettier labels. But I still recommend storing spices in a drawer and I still love the same spice containers. We really need to get Esti to take a pretty photo for us.)
The sauce also comes together easily and quickly in a bowl, with no blender or pot needed. Use the amount of bourbon you think your family can handle. Mine likes it bourbony (not a word, I know) but you can certainly use less.
How to Cook Them
Once you have the basic technique, you can change any recipe and make it your own.
Back ribs get a sauce before they’re served. You can either pour the sauce over the ribs before rewarming, or keep the sauce warm and pour it over when serving. Whether you need the broth when rewarming depends on how long you’re going to be rewarming for. If your ribs are basically warm and you’re heating up for just 15-20 minutes, then you can get rid of the broth and pour the sauce over to rewarm. But if you’re going to be rewarming for longer, then it’s best to keep the ribs in the liquid. While it’s fine to pour the sauce over while the ribs are still in the broth, you’ll lose some of the sauce (and ribs like a lot of sauce so that’s a shame).
- 1 Rack Back Ribs
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ - ½ cup bourbon
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Combine all spice rub ingredients and rub all over the ribs.
- Add ribs to a Dutch oven, roasting pan, or baking pan. Add beef stock most of the way up the sides of the ribs. Cover tightly and bake for 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients.
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