Bacon made from pork bellies is the undoubtedly the most flavorful, versatile, popular and widely used cut of pork, but ribs are a very close second in my book. Pork ribs have a lot of flavor, offer excellent nutrition and can be cut into individual ribs for easy to eat finger foods for tailgating or watching football games. I’ve been cooking and perfecting my techniques for pork ribs for many years.
There are a variety of ways to cook awe inspiring, delicious pork ribs, but for simplicity and because all of us are just ‘crazy busy’ with life, I recommend this simple oven, then BBQ finishing method for pork back ribs.
I call this recipe “overnight apple juice back ribs”:
- Place back ribs in oven roasting pan that has at least 3” sides.
- Smoke ribs on low heat or “smoke” setting in a smoker OR
Apply enough liquid smoke to adequately wet both sides of the ribs on all surfaces.
- Apply Kosher salt and course ground black pepper liberally to both sides of ribs.
- Add apple juice to pan, enough to ½ cover the ribs, or about 1” deep. Don’t add too much juice or the pan will overflow while cooking. The pan should only be about ½ full of juice.
- Cover top of pan entirely with aluminum foil. Fold and crimp foil over sides of pan.
- Place pan in the oven at 225 degrees and cook for 5 to 7 hours. I normally put these in the oven at 11 pm, go to bed and get up at 6 am and remove them from the oven. Ribs will be fall-off-the-bone tender when cooked this long. Don’t worry, if you oversleep and cook the ribs for 8 hours, they’ll still be fine. If you like more bite in your ribs and want the meat to stay on the bone, cook them for just 3 hours at 255 degrees. Remove foil from ribs and let them cool at room temp for 15-30 minutes. Pour off all the juice into a bowl and discard. I now put the entire pan, covered again in foil, in the fridge and let them sit until dinner time.
- 30 minutes prior to serving dinner, with the ribs still in the roasting pan, apply your favorite BBQ sauce liberally to both sides of the ribs and then transfer the ribs to your outdoor BBQ. Finish them over high heat on a propane or wood charcoal grill until sauce begins turning crispy on both sides. I normally cook them for about 8 minutes on each side. Use tongs to get under the ribs as you turn them over, or they will fall apart otherwise.
- Try not to eat all the ribs while your finishing them on the BBQ! This requires a lot of will power. They look, smell and taste delicious. I especially like them with the BBQ sauce slightly burnt.
- Remove ribs from BBQ and place them back into your oven roasting pan. Cover with foil and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes prior to devouring them.
- Serve to your family and friends and be prepared for compliments such as, “these are the best pork ribs I’ve ever had!” and “can I take some home for lunch tomorrow?”
You can use back ribs or spare ribs for this meal. I prefer back ribs for this cooking method and using spare ribs for different dry rub recipe.
What are your tips for cooking awesomely delicious pork ribs? Do you like back ribs more than spare ribs? Care to share your dry rub recipe?
Here’s a trivia question for meat aficionados; where did “St. Louis Ribs” (squared-up spare ribs) get their name?
Does your chicken contain any MSG?