I love a good rack of ribs; sticky, tender meat that’s slightly smoky and a little bit sweet. You know, the finger-licking good kind that falls off the bone and fills your belly with goodness? I make ribs all year long because not only do they taste good, but they are a NO FAIL recipe that tastes good every time and they feed a crowd, which around here, is necessary! I prefer to make them in the oven, where I let them cook low and slow for 3-4 hours. Broil them at the end to achieve a crisp, dark crust; or throw them on the grill for a few minutes to get a nice char on top. My favorite gluten free bottled marinade and barbecue sauce is Rib Rack. I’ve tried all of the flavors, but I prefer the original flavor when making these ribs since I also season the meat with a dry rub. Not only are the sauces gluten free, but they don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup or other “junk,” so I can feel good about giving it to my kids, too. I use it for ribs as well as chicken wings.
For this particular recipe, I used St. Louis style ribs, which take a little more effort because there’s a thin, but tough, membrane along the backside of the rack. This has to be removed since it’s not pleasant to eat. Plain ol’ baby backs are much easier, but my local grocer had the St. Louis on sale and I needed 6 racks, so…! I like to serve the ribs with a homemade cole slaw or potato salad. My Summer Picnic Salad would also be delicious served on the side!
Cook’s Notes: I really don’t have exact measurements for the seasonings and marinade/BBQ sauce. Honestly, it’s more just a matter of taste/preference. That’s one of the great things about this recipe; it’s so versatile and can be adjusted based on your personal taste. The method, however, is what makes the ribs fall-off-the-bone soft and delicious.
I highly recommend using a disposable aluminum tray here. Now is not the time for you fancy roasting pans. Save them for Thanksgiving! The sauce will get pretty sticky, especially towards the end of the cooking process, so the disposable pans are your best bet; just toss them and clean-up is done!
Sweet & Smoky Pork Ribs
- Pork rib racks (any style is fine)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Rib Rack original flavor BBQ sauce
- 2-gallon zip-top bags
- Disposable aluminum roasting pans
- Aluminum foil
- Step 1 Trim any excess fat or membrane tissue off the ribs.
- Step 2 In a very wide bowl, dish or platter with sides, season the ribs on both sides with the seasonings.
- Step 3 Pour some of the marinade on top of the rack. Using a silicone brush, brush it into all of the crevices. Do this on both sides.
- Step 4 Place the racks in a 2-gallon zip-top bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours or preferably, overnight.
- Step 5 Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Step 6 Place the racks side by side in the aluminum pans. You don’t want to cram too many racks into one pan or they won’t cook evenly.
- Step 7 Pour in some of the juices left in the bag from the marinade.
- Step 8 Cover tightly with foil and roast for 3 hours, turning the racks over halfway through. Be sure to replace the foil on top so the juices don’t escape.
- Step 9 For the last hour of cooking, I like to brush more of the BBQ sauce on the ribs. Before doing so, I carefully drain off some of the cooking liquid into the sink. Be careful, it’s hot!
- Step 10 Raise the oven temp to 350 or 375 and cook UNCOVERED now.
- Step 11 Towards the end of the final hour, turn your oven to broil (or preheat your gas grill) and allow the top of the racks to caramelize and get deeply brown. This forms a delicious crust on the outside, but keeps the inside of the meat very tender. It’s not necessary to broil the underside of the rack, as during the roasting process, the meat has receded and all that is left here is mostly bone.
- Step 12 Serve hot or keep warm covered with foil.
When you’re ready to serve the ribs, place each rack one at a time on a large cutting board. Turn the rack over so the backside is facing up. Using a very sharp knife (I prefer to use my favorite J.A. Henckels cleaver), cut each rib in the meaty area between each of the bones. Place each rib on a serving platter. It’s ok if the meat falls off some of the bones. This is a good thing!