Who says the best barbecue baby back ribs come from a grill or smoker? Okay, maybe that’s true, but it’s not the only way for an apartment-dwelling bachelor can enjoy really good, succulent barbecue ribs.
This recipe is one of our favorites. It includes making your own barbecue sauce, which is always better than out of a bottle. One of the problems with most apartment living is that outdoor grills are not allowed because the smoke gets into other apartments. For some, an indoor grill or a grill pan is the solution. But when it comes to ribs, all you need is a sauce pan, a large pot like a stock pot, a cookie sheet and an oven broiler.
From the store, you need about three pounds of pork baby back or spare ribs. When you get those home, you will cut them into individual servings, about three ribs each.
For the sauce, you probably already have what you need in your pantry. This recipe is open to lots of personal variations, so don’t go out of your way to get all of the ingredients here. As long as you have ketchup, vinegar, sugar and liquid smoke, you probably have everything you need.
Place the ribs into a large pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce it to medium or medium low to simmer for about one hour. You know they are done when it looks like the meat is pulling away from the bones.
While that is cooking, mix together in a small saucepan a cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (You can use another vinegar, but it will change the flavor quite a bit.), 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of liquid smoke. You can find that last item either with the spices or with the barbecue sauce in the store. Read the labels, not all brands are the same. Some really are make from real smoke while others get their flavor from chemicals. This seldom used seasoning can make a big difference in making your ribs taste like they just came out of the smoker. But use a gentle hand because too much can make your sauce go from smokey to nasty. Mix the ingredients well over medium high heat until it starts to simmer. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, until thickened. Stir it frequently.
When the ribs are done, drain them and place them in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Preheat the broiler and set the oven rack about six-inches from the heat source. Brush your barbecue sauce liberally on the ribs. You should probably have the meatier side facing up first, but it’s not totally necessary. Put the baking pan or cookie sheet under the broiler until the sauce has turned sticky and browned, about six or seven minutes. If you start to see black spots, your rack is probably too close to the heat.
Turn the ribs over, apply the rest of sauce and put back under the broiler for another seven minutes until the sauce is thick and sticky.
This is a fool-proof method we use all the time in The Bachelor’s Kitchen. We think once you try it and see how easy it is to get wonderful barbecue ribs without a grill all year long it will be a favorite of yours, too.