If you don’t have a smoker, you can still enjoy smokey finger licking good ribs. While not having a smoker can be quite the dilemma, it’s not the end of the world if you love barbecue and smoked food. I didn’t have a smoker for years and that’s precisely how I developed other techniques that could deliver the barbecue flavor that we so enjoy. For these saucy baby back ribs, I generously rub the ribs with a smokey dry rub, then cook them low and slow in my oven. They’re then cooled completely and chilled even overnight works. To prepare, the ribs are brought back up to temperature on the grill and slathered with your favorite prepared barbecue sauce to char and you’ve entered, barbecue heaven. For homemade sauces see Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce and Chipotle Peach Barbecue Grilling Sauce.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Saucy Baby Back Ribs
- 2 slabs of baby back ribs membrane removed [approx. 6 lbs]
- Dry rub:
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
- 2 tsp ground chipotle pepper
- 2 tsp Spanish or Hungarian paprika
- 2 tsp dark chili powder
- 2 tsp lemon pepper
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce i.e. Sweet & Smoky Chipotle
Preheat the oven to 225°F. Line 2 baking sheets with heavy duty aluminum foil.
Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. (Tip: Use a paper towel to help maintain your grip on the membrane)
In a small bowl, mix together the dry rub ingredients. Divide the dry rub between the ribs rubbing into the meat on all sides..
- Lay each slab flat on the pan, then cover tightly with aluminum foil. If the ribs are too long to lay flat, cut them in half.
Place into the oven and roast for 6 hours. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to rest covered on the counter to cool.
Transfer to a clean pan, cover and refrigerate. (Tip: The ribs are very tender at this point, handle gently)
To prepare: Rest chilled ribs on counter for 30 minutes to bring to room temperature.
Preheat the grill to medium. For added smokiness, soak mesquite or hickory chips in water for at least 2 hours then place into a smoker box.
Set smoker box if using, on top of the grates to the side while the grill preheats. (If you don't have a smoker box, the ribs will still be great)
To char on the grill: Oil the grates, then place the ribs onto the grill. Slowly bring them back up to temperature grilling for around 5 minutes on each side. Closing the lid will help infuse the wood chips flavor.
Increase the grill temperature to medium-high, and liberally brush each side of the ribs with barbecue sauce. Char each side of the ribs for around 3 minutes each, then remove from the grill.
Brush with additional sauce and cut into desired serving portions.
If you prefer to purchase a dry rub rather than making your own, I would recommend a rub that compliments the flavors in your choice of barbecue sauce. [i.e.Chipotle Barbecue Sauce use a chipotle rub.]