In the dead of winter when asking Brock to ‘please! smoke something!’ is just plain mean…these ribs from Smitten Kitchen are a very easy way to fill your rib craving.  They’re brilliant, and a crazy close second to Brock’s famous smoked ribs (taking all extraneous factors into account of course!).  I made a large batch of 3 racks which worked out to be about 4 kilograms of ribs (I used the recipe below x 1.5), and then we stripped the leftover rib bones to have some beautiful rib goodness in the freezer for a fast treat another day – enjoy!

Oven Ribs

1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar

2 T. paprika (I used smoked)

3 T. chili powder

1 T. onion powder

2 T. kosher salt

chipotle powder or cayenne pepper (to taste)

freshly ground pepper – I used about 1 T.

~1/2 c. mustard (our addition, it helps the spice mix to stick and doesn’t mess with the flavor)

1, 5 lb. rack of pork ribs (we always cook with back ribs, they’re meatier)

2 t. cider vinegar to finish

Preheat the oven to 200 and get out a large, rimmed, sturdy baking sheet and heavy-duty foil (if you have it) – double up on regular foil if that’s all that you’ve got in the house.  In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and all of the spices.

On a piece of foil large enough to wrap around your ribs (we did 1 piece per rack as we had 3 of them!), place the rack(s) of ribs, meatier side up.  Pat the rack(s) dry with a paper towel and then evenly rub on a tablespoon or 2 of mustard.  Sprinkle on about half of the rub (making sure to distribute this evenly among however many racks you’re baking), then flip the rack(s), spread on more mustard and pat on the rest of the spice mix.  Tightly fold the foil around the ribs to seal the packets.

Set a metal rack (like a cookie cooling rack), on your large baking sheet and then place the foil-wrapped ribs on top.  Bake for 4 hours at 200, then reduce the temperature to 175 and bake for another 2 hours.  The timing on this is actually rather flexible – see Deb’s notes – the pork should be 160-165 degrees and the meat should be fork tender.  We were out all day the day we made these so the ribs were actually in the oven for closer to 8 hours.

When the ribs are done, very carefully open the foil and pour all of the juices into a medium pot.  Cut the corner of the packet and hold down the ribs while you pour – this is definitely easiest with 2 people.  Bring the pot of goodness to a full boil and reduce it until it becomes thick enough to coat a spoon, then stir in the vinegar, this is your ‘sauce’.

If you like extra crispy ribs, cut them up, spread them on a baking sheet and throw them under the broiler for a couple of minutes – either way you do it, grab lots of napkins and dig in.

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