Ian Knauer's Sticky Balsamic Ribs

By • August 18, 2011 23 Comments

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Author Notes: Ribs that ditch the low-and-slow doctrine and make you popular anyway, first published in July 2009 in Gourmet Magazine. Knauer's bake-then-grill tactic isn't new for home-cooked ribs -- but we're usually told to keep it low and slow. Instead, Knauer goes for fast and reckless. But the ribs are well-marinated and steamed, so they come out inexplicably tender, yet sturdy enough to hold up to flipping on the grill.

- This recipe halves well. You'll only need one roasting pan, placed on the middle rack of your oven.
- If you can only get larger ribs (4 racks), you will need more glaze; use 12 large garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.
- Ribs can be roasted and glaze can be made 1 day ahead and chilled separately (covered once cool). Bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before glazing and grilling.
- Ribs can be broiled 3 to 4 inches from heat (instead of grilled) about 8 minutes.
Genius Recipes

Serves 8

For the ribs

  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 pounds baby back pork ribs
  • 1 cup water

For the glaze

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  1. Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt. Stir together with rosemary, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne, remaining tablespoon salt, and pepper. Rub evenly all over ribs and transfer to roasting pans, meaty side up. Marinate, chilled, 8 to 24 hours. Alternately, marinate in a zippered bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup water into each roasting pan and tightly cover pans with foil. Roast ribs, switching position of pans halfway through, until meat is very tender, about 1 3/4 hours. Remove pans from oven and transfer ribs to a platter.
  4. Add 1 cup hot water to each roasting pan and scrape up brown bits. Skim off and discard fat, then transfer liquid to a 10-inch skillet. Add vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil until thick and syrupy and reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.
  5. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).
  6. Brush some of glaze onto both sides of racks of ribs. Grill, turning occasionally, until ribs are hot and grill marks appear, about 6 minutes.
  7. Brush ribs with more glaze and serve remaining glaze on the side.

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