NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
Successfully making BBQ ribs is probably the most hotly-debated item in my repertoire. True BBQ experts insist that the only way to cook ribs is over a slow heat outdoors for a long period of time (read: all day). My recipe creates consistently-good BBQ ribs that all but narrow-minded purists can easily enjoy.
1 rack of baby-back pork ribs
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion (whole)
2 bay leaves
1 64oz bottle of apple cider
1 cup white wine
1 cup BBQ sauce (this one is Paleo-friendly)
1 tbsp each sea salt and pepper
Cut the rack of ribs into sections of three or four bones. Place them in the pot with the onions, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, apple cider and white wine. You should have enough liquid to mostly cover the meat. Cover and turn the stove to medium heat; just as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low for a mild simmer. Simmer gently for about two hours, until the bones just start to separate from the meat.
“Boiling” or “braising” ribs may sound a little scary because you can lose some of that pork flavor in the process. We actually prefer to braise our ribs (rather than smoking or steaming) because it brings a mild, even taste to the meat.
Completing your ribs can be done in one of two ways: indoors or outdoors. Grilling them outdoors brings a smoky, BBQ flavor to them, while broiling them in the oven creates a clean, even consistency without having to go out to the grill. I prefer grilled ribs, but we store our grill over the winter. Either way, you’ll need to prep them by sprinkling the ribs with sea salt and pepper on each side.
You’ll also need some BBQ sauce, if you don’t make your own; I recommend the unfortunately-named “Bone Suckin’ Sauce”, which is all-natural and Paleo-friendly. It’s a little on the thin side so you’ll want a full cup of it to slather it on generously.
Grilling is as easy as it sounds – simply place the ribs on the grill on med heat, turning once to crisp them on both sides. Then generously brush the sauce on and let it caramelize, turning once.
Broiling follows the same routine as grilling, but (obviously) in the oven. I usually broil for about two minutes on each side before adding the sauce and broil again for two minutes on each side.
Finally, let the ribs rest for about 10 minutes, and then cut each bone from the rack with kitchen shears for easy access.