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Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Citrus Barbecue Sauce

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Friday, 30 September 2011
List of viewable recipes from "The Cook and the Butcher" by Brigit Binns

Recipe from The Cook and the Butcher by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2011)

ImageBaby back ribs are leaner and offer less meat by weight than spareribs. Their flavor is not quite as intense, so this preparation compensates with a long marinating time and a tangy sauce with a kick of spice. If you've never made your own barbecue sauce, this will be a revelation: citrus juices and honey add a depth and freshness lacking in bottled sauces.

  • 1/4 cup (3/4 oz/20 g) sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 6 lb (3 kg) baby back ribs


  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups (1 lb/500 g) tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark
  • brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons hot-pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz/90 g)
  • unsalted butter

Sift the paprika, Old Bay, chile powder, cayenne, and garlic powder into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon each salt and pepper and the sugar. Add the vinegar and stir with a fork to make a paste. Rub the paste into the meat and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in a large roasting pan. Refrigerate overnight.

To prepare the barbecue sauce, in a blender or food processor, purée the onion with 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the orange juice until smooth, about 1 minute. Place the remaining 3/4 cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) orange juice in a saucepan and add the ketchup, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, paprika, pepper flakes, garlic powder, chile powder, hot-pepper sauce, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, and butter. Stir in the onion purée. Bring to a slow simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 minutes. Let cool.

Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the ribs on the sheet. Cook, turning every hour, until the meat starts to pull away from the bones, about 3 hours. Remove the ribs from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat grilling over high heat. Place the ribs, meaty side down, on the grill rack and cook just until the fat starts to sizzle, 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut between the ribs to separate them. Mound the ribs on a platter and drizzle with the barbecue sauce, or pass the sauce at the table. Serve at once.


Ask the butcher to remove the membrane from the back of the rib plate. To remove it yourself, loosen it at the tail end of the rack, grasp it with a folded paper towel, and peel it off in one piece.

- Benjamin Dyer, Laurelhust Market, Portland, OR


Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 October 2011 )
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