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It wasn’t until just recently that I discovered I liked ribs. I was raised in the south and there were always ribs to eat and I just never wanted them. I really don’t like to get messy when I eat. If I can’t use a fork or spoon, I probably won’t eat it (burgers totally don’t count). So since ribs fell in the “utensil-less” category, I avoided them at all costs. They could have tasted amazing, for all I know, but I wasn’t having it.
Then as I became more of an adult, I thought I should stop being so whiny and at least taste some. Nope, didn’t like them. They were like tasteless, rubbery bones. I wondered, “Why do people rave about this stuff? Bacon is clearly the only good thing to come from a pig”. Then something miraculous happened. We moved to Colorado. Actually, that in and of itself is fantastic, but I’m talking about something different. When we moved here, we found a fantastic BBQ place in town. Although it’s far from paleo, it’s one of our favorite cheats. One of the items on the menu was, you guessed it, ribs. You know I didn’t order those, no way. But Rob did and he made me taste them. Now that, my friends, was what a rib should taste like. It was fall-off-the-bone perfection. And the taste was spot on. I would gladly get my hands all greasy and saucy for those ribs.
Problem is, they’re bound to be cooked with all sorts of non-paleo ingredients, and so we now reserve that restaurant for our cheat meals. Because it’s that good. Which meant I had to find a way to make good ribs at home, now that I’m a believer and all.
It has taken me 2 years to even want to attempt ribs at home. One day, I stumbled across an Alton Brown rib recipe and thought I’d give it a shot. The actual cooking method was more what I was looking for, as I made a few changes to the actual ingredients. Turns out, that is exactly how ribs should be made at home (if you don’t have a smoker, like us). After a few attempts at modifying the dry rub ingredients to be just right, I think I found what is delicious enough for even me to like. Too bad our kids actually like them, though, because that means less for the parents.
Ribs are definitely a paper plate kind of food, you know what I mean? It’s just the right way to eat them. So grab a paper plate, pile it high with a stack of these tasty ribs, and go to town. A pile of bones is a true gesture of gratitude to your chef.
Braised Baby Back Ribs
- 3-4 lbs Baby Back Ribs approx. 1-2 slabs
- 4 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 cup Red Wine
- 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- In a small bowl, combine all dry rub ingredients and mix well. Make sure there are no coconut sugar clumps (crushing with a fork helps).
- Divide the dry rub evenly among all slabs, coating generously on both sides, patting it in.
- Place rib slabs in a large baking dish or other container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 225°F.
- In a microwavable bowl, combine all braising liquid ingredients. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
- Place a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil shiny side down (1 piece of foil for each slab). If your slabs are too long, cut them in half. Place one slab in the center of each piece of foil.
- Bring the long edges of the foil together over the top of the slab, gently rolling once (don't make this too tight, you'll need to open it in a minute). Roll the short sides up so that the creases are above the ribs. Make this seal as tight as possible. Repeat for all foil packets.
- Place the foil packets on a large baking sheet (or 2 baking sheets if you have too many packs). Open the top of the foil on each slab and pour the braising liquid into each foil packet, dividing equally among them all (ex: 1/2 cup each if you have 2 packets). Reseal the top of the foil, tightly this time.
- Place baking trays in the oven and braise for 2.5 - 4 hours. The longer they cook, the more tender they will be. Cook for no less than 2.5 hours.
- Remove the Baking tray and open the foil packets carefully. They will release steam and you don't want to spill the liquid. Remove the ribs from the foil and place on a broiler pan (I like to line mine with more foil so I don't have anything to clean).
- Pour all the remaining liquid into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup. This can take up to 20 minutes.
- Turn the broiler on HIGH. Brush the glaze on top of the ribs and place under the broiler for a couple minutes until the glaze caramelizes and bubbles.
- Serve immediately. Keep the remaining glaze in a bowl in case you want to dip your ribs in it.