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Recipe, video and photography provided by Heinen’s partner, Chef Billy Parisi.
It is officially barbecue season and I’m going to show you how to make delicious baby back ribs that everyone will love!
Baby Back Ribs vs. Spare Ribs
When it comes to barbecue ribs, there are two different cuts to choose from: spare ribs and baby back ribs. It’s all about where on the pig the ribs are located. Spare ribs are cut closer to the belly and are known for being a little meatier, a little fattier and a little tougher. Baby back ribs are cut a little closer to the back, making them much more tender.
I love both, but for this recipe, I used baby back ribs.
My dad has shown me how to make this recipe time and time again. It is absolutely delicious and if you don’t have a smoker, or the time to smoke ribs for that matter, this is the next best thing!
Membrane or No Membrane?
For baby back ribs, or ribs in general, there’s a little membrane that runs along the backside of the bones underneath the ribs. There are tons of “rules of thumb” on whether to remove it or keep it on, but if you’re cooking for long periods of time, I recommend leaving the membrane on. Since I cooked these ribs for about 2 hours, I left it on. It was thin enough that it eventually cooked off.
A lot of barbecue pit masters say that leaving the membrane on helps seal in all the juices.
Although I recommend leaving it on, if you want to remove the membrane, simply insert your fingers in between the membrane and pull it across until it’s completely off.
How to Make the Rub
Now that the ribs are prepared, it’s time to make a very simple rub. Heinen’s has a wonderful assortment of barbecue rubs, but if you want to make one from scratch, here’s how to do it:
- Add brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper to a small bowl and mix to combine.
- Slice the ribs in half.
- Pour apple cider vinegar onto the ribs and rub it all over both sides.
- Generously sprinkle the rub all over the top and bottom of the ribs.
How to Cook Ribs
Once the ribs are seasoned, transfer them to a casserole dish. Spread them out so they’re not overlapping. Add beef stock to the pan. This will help the ribs steam and add flavor. Chicken stock or even water will work just fine if you don’t have beef stock. My dad even uses soda sometimes.
Wrap the casserole dish in foil and place it in the oven at 375°F for 80 minutes. Once the ribs are cooked, take them out of the oven and remove the foil. To add extra flavor, generously brush your favorite barbecue sauce (Heinen’s has a great one!) all over the top of the ribs. Add them back to the oven, without a foil cover, to cook for another 20 minutes.
While you’re waiting, fire up the grill to around 400°F – 450°F.
After 20 minutes, take the ribs out of the oven and grill them, barbecue-sauce-side-down, for 5-7 minutes. While this side is cooking, coat the side that is facing up in barbecue sauce. Flip the ribs and cook for another 5-7 minutes until a nice char forms.
Now all that’s left to do is remove the ribs from the grill and have a taste.
These ribs are amazing, but if you want to serve spare ribs instead of baby back, you can prepare them the exact same way.
Whether you’re serving these at a cookout or for a weekly family dinner, they will turn out perfect every time.