Foolproof Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

It’s time for another installment of Pass the Cook Book Club, and {spoiler alert}, it’s a really good one! I jumped back into the group fray a few months ago joining this club, and have been loving it. You can read more about the group here, but the basic idea is that each month Kita, our fearless leader, selects three recipes from one of the cookbooks on her shelf and then everyone in the group makes and posts about one of them.

Foolproof Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I was super excited when Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten was chosen as this month’s selection. I love Ina, she was probably the first Food Network personality I watched religiously when I was learning to cook. I even met her at a book signing a few years ago!

Foolproof Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

The recipes chosen from the book were an easy gazpacho with goat cheese croutons, these ribs, and chocolate chunk blondies. Frankly, I kind of wanted to make them all :) But I knew Shane would be most excited about the ribs, so I surprised him by announcing I was making them on the 4th of July. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve cooked ribs, they’ve always sort of intimidated me. I have no idea way, totally not a rational fear. Shane and I both love ordering ribs when we’re out at barbecue restaurants though, so it was high time I got over it and conquered them in my own kitchen!

Foolproof Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

And now I feel kind of silly having waited so long, because as the recipe promised, these ribs are completely foolproof. Absolutely nothing to be nervous about here! You start by making a homemade barbecue sauce, which is probably the star of the show. Unlike a lot of barbecue sauce recipes, this one isn’t ketchup-based (not that I have any problem at all with those) and though it includes a ton of ingredients (including one of my very favorites, hoisin sauce!), it’s super easy. The ribs themselves are first baked in the oven until tender and then just finished on the grill for a few minutes to impart incredible smoky flavor and char.

The day I made these it was 100 degrees out so having the oven on for nearly 2 hours wasn’t ideal, but in the end, it was totally worth heating up the house. The ribs were amazing – fall-off-the-bone tender and so flavorful! I’d made nearly 7 pounds of ribs (yes, in our excitement we went just a little overboard at the store) so we had a ton of leftovers, and thought they were just as good reheated on subsequent days. In fact, we were such fans, I’ve already made the recipe again with the leftover barbecue sauce. Something tells me it won’t be the last time we’re eating these ribs this summer…

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Want to join the club and cook with us? Kita has more info in this post, and you can check out the club’s Facebook group here.

Foolproof Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
just barely adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten

{Note: After baking the ribs you can refrigerate them and grill later instead of grilling immediately, so this could be a good make-ahead option for a party.}

Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 lb baby back or St Louis ribs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make the sauce: Add the oil to a large saucepan and set over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until they are translucent (they shouldn’t brown). Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes and stir until well combined. Increase the heat to medium, and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes. (If you aren’t going to use immediately, allow the sauce to cool slightly then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. The sauce will last for at least 2 weeks.)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the ribs on the prepared baking sheet and season with the salt and pepper. Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs and spread (how much is up to you – I just used enough to cover them lightly). Cover the ribs loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the ribs are fork tender (if you use less than 5 lb of ribs your baking time will be on the lower end of the range, if you are cooking over 5 lb, you’ll be on the top of the range). When the ribs are done, remove them from the oven and spread with additional barbecue sauce (again, how much is up to you).

Toward the end of the cooking time, preheat your grill to medium-high. Oil the grill racks generously to keep the ribs from sticking. Transfer the baked ribs to the grill, rib-side down. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until browned. Flip the ribs over and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until browned. Transfer ribs to a cutting board and cover tightly with foil – allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Cut and serve with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.