Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ribs from the Oven?

During the colder season, I usually have the grills and smokers winterized, so they won't be ruined by the snow and ice.  This basically means wrapping them up tightly in tarps, and storing them safely against the back wall of the shed; sort of like wagons circling against attack.  So how do I get good barbequed food during the winter then?

Two options really; the first is traveling down to Blanding and eating at one of my favorite bbq places, Fattboyz Grillin', or making my own, yes I still can, by getting my oven to do it for me.   Oven grilling can't be as good as a real barbeque grill or smoker you say; and I quite agree, but when life gives you lemons.....

Basically you have to do a little compromising, remember what you know about outdoor cooking, and adapt it for the indoors.  A good rack of ribs would be prepped the same way; removing the membrane located on the curved inside of the rack.  The membrane acts like a "condom", keeping rubs and marinades from seeping into the meat to do their jobs of flavoring and tenderizing.  Secondly you want to remove as much excess fat as possible; keeping the fat on doesn't give the ribs extra moisture.  As it melts, it's taking your rubs and marinades with it and there goes your flavor.  Also, did you ever get flareups when barbeque-ing?  It's mostly caused by melting fat dripping onto your fire source.  No, that won't happen in the oven, but any fat dripping into your pan will eventually dry out, smoke and just cause one heck of a mess.  Using aluminum foil does help, but then your ribs are cooking in a mass of molten fat which gives them a greasy, slimy texture.  Just trust me on this one, and remove as much fat as you can.

After prepping your ribs, give them a good rubdown and here's a repost of my all purpose rub:

All Purpose Rub for Smoking and Grilling


2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp each sea salt, ground black pepper, ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp each paprika, onion powder, garlic powder


In medium bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Rub onto all sides of meat or poultry; refrigerate overnight. Smoke or grill.

Now this recipe will cover a nice 4-6 pound rack, or two racks of 2-3 pounds each; give or take an ounce here or there.  Generously cover both sides of your rack(s), cover in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge all night.  Oh, and if you want your ribs to have that Kansas City style taste, throw in a heaping tablespoon of chili powder; I recommend New Mexico chili powder which has a sweeter, smokier flavor to it.

You want to start cooking up your ribs early in the morning if you want them ready for dinner time.  Set your oven temperature to 185F; line a metal baking sheet or pan with aluminum foil and place a rack on or into. 

Unwrap the ribs from the plastic wrap and rewrap them in aluminum foil; not too tightly, but not too loosely either.  Place this package on the rack; place the entire pan in the oven and leave it all alone for 8 hours, if two separate racks; 10 hours if one large rack.  As you can see, it's going to take as long as if you were using an outdoor smoker. 

To get some char on the ribs, remove the pan from the oven and get your broiler going on a high setting.  Open up the aluminum foil to expose the ribs and place the pan under the broiler; five minutes will give a slight char and dry out the meat a little bit; keep it under the broiler until it's the way you like it, but watch it!  You want char on your ribs, not ashes on your plate.

Once they're ready, slop barbecue sauce on them before serving, or not; your choice of how you like them.  Enjoy!!

Mary Cokenour

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