Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby Back Ribs

Now that it’s summer, everyone is breaking out their grills and doing some outdoor, open-flame cooking. Well I live in a high rise condo in Chicago with no patio, so unfortunately I’m not exactly dusting off the ol’ barbeque. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make some awesome summertime food!

One of the major grill foods we all think of is ribs. Sticky, tasty, eat with your hands but get them all over your face... there’s really nothing more amazing. But honestly, good fall-off-the-bone ribs are hard to accomplish on the grill. Often ribs tend to be a little tougher, and although they have that good charred taste, they’re not as good as you can get at a restaurant.

But (shocker) I’ve got a secret!

Amazing Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs

Start with a rack of baby back ribs. Chris and I got this rack thinking it was a nice size, not too big, maybe a little leftovers but would be good for us.

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Aaand then we completely unpackaged it, realized what we thought was a good size was actually folded in half

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…and we found ourselves in possession of a ridiculous amount of ribs. Oh well!

Moving on!

Start by rubbing a hefty amount of liquid smoke on both sides of the ribs. This will add the smoky flavor (obviously) but will also help the dry seasonings to stick to the ribs. Then coat the ribs in a good crust of dry ingredients. Whatever you choose, just make sure to use a ton of it! We used sweet mesquite seasoning (from Costco), salt, pepper, Pullman Pork Seasoning (from Spice House), smoked paprika, and garlic powder.

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Now on to the secret. Our very close friends taught us this secret one night when we went over to their place for ribs, and we will never again do ribs any other way.

Stick the ribs in your crock pot.

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Ok, ok. So ours look a little ridiculous in there. We should have cut the rack in half and set each half on its side so that they fit nicely in there. But hindsight is always 20/20 so oh well. It still accomplishes the same goal!

So getting back to crock potting your ribs. Why would you do such a thing?!? Because you want them tender, silly! We all know deep in our hearts that the way to make something truly fall-apart melt-in-your-mouth tender is to cook it low and slow in a crock pot. So why not ribs?

Put them in the crock pot (maybe a little more gracefully than my little arrangement here) on low with some chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, and lots of cracked pepper. Leave for about 4-5 hours. The important thing is you take them out before they get too tender. Though you want them to fall off the bone when people eat them, you don’t want them to fall off the bone before you even get them out of the crock pot.

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I feel the need to take a moment to express that the little red you see there on top is my husband putting a teeny tiny bit of bbq sauce on the ribs partway through for no good reason. I just thought I had to reassure that 1) that’s not blood and 2) you don’t have to put red stuff of any kind on your ribs at this point so I didn’t miss a step.

Remove the ribs and place on a baking sheet, and brush the ribs with your bbq sauce of choice. I choose to use the homemade stuff, you can find the recipe in my brisket post.

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Now place in a 200 degree oven to let the sauce begin to dry out and get sticky.

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While they’re in the oven, fire up the grill. In our case, plug in the electric grill. Since we’re only trying to get a char, not trying to actually cook the ribs, this does just fine. Make sure you put it on the highest setting.

Once it’s hot enough, take the ribs out and stick them on the hot grill.

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Flip after about 2-3 minutes.

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Leave for another couple minutes, and flip again. You should start to get a really good char as the sugars in the bbq sauce begin to caramelize and burn.

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Then remove from heat, and plate 2-4 ribs per person, with your favorite side.

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These are super tasty, fall-off-the-bone, amazing ribs! Happy summer eating!


  1. Yum!! Those look great! I'll have to try your method of letting them cook in the crock pot for a while. I made them once before just using the oven and they weren't very tender.

  2. Looks wonderful! Luckily, Hubs is the GrillMaster - seriously! He actually caters BBQ. All I have to do is the clean up :(

    I did a post on ModPodge today & just had to include you. Stop by if you get a chance.

    Have a great weekend.

  3. What time should I be there for dinner? I'll bring chocolate!

  4. Ribs...yummy! My hubby, also Chris, makes them in the smoker. I'd never would have thought of the crockpot. Great idea!!!

    I came from NFF! I'm your newest follower. Have a great Father's Day weekend!

  5. Yummy, ribs are a favorite in our house! The crock pot huh, who would've thought! Thanks for sharing your recipe and have a great Friday!

  6. Those look awesome, and I hate ribs. I think I might even be tempted to try them! I might make those for hubby though. He loves ribs! Thanks for the tips!

  7. I just happened upon your blog. Love your recipes and the step by step photos.

  8. I’m following you now on New Friend Friday--No. 82! Please follow me back on my blog “Inspire!”


  9. Hey, I stumbled upon your blog today and I noticed we have two things in common. Food and wine. I'll admit that I am a wino. My husband and I just did the wine trail on Door Peninsula Wisconsin (that's the thumb of Wis that sticks out into Lake Michigan) and really enjoyed it. I blogged about it too. I look forward to more posts and became a follower.

  10. Katie these look AWESOME! :) I can't wait to try them!!

  11. What great timing! I just bought some baby back ribs this weekend. These look great!

  12. These look amazing! I'm not really a rib preson but would definitely consider giving these a try! Love the tips! Thanks for joining the Sunday Showcase. I greatly appreciate it. Hope you are enjoying your week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  13. Hi Katie, Just wanted to let you know I'll be featuring your recipe today! Stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase Party! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  14. I do my ribs the exact same way. Even down to putting on the liquid smoke before the dry rub. Mine are always yummy!

    I'm a new follower now. :)