Salt & Pepper Babyback Ribs

By • May 6, 2013 42 Comments

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Author Notes: I didn't realize that barbecue sauce on ribs was a thing until I was in my teens. Growing up, my dad grilled these simply seasoned babybacks that were so delicious, they've always made sauce seem superfluous to me. What I love about these ribs is that they allow the pork be the superstar, rather than just the vehicle for a killer barbecue sauce. They cook up in no time, have a great meaty bite, and should you feel inspired to sauce 'em up, they're the perfect canvas. lisina

Food52 Review: This is probably the easiest recipe I've made in a long time, but that is by no means a reflection of the flavor or the final results. I cut the recipe to 1 slab of baby back ribs and used 1/3 of the ingredients. The ribs were quite salty, but I found them strangely addictive; the meat was tender and moist. I would definitely make them again, but probably cut back a bit on the salt or let them marinate for less time (I let them sit for about 6 hours). The sugar can cause a bit of a flare up when grilling, so worth keeping an eye on them. figgypudding

Serves 6 to 8

  • 3 racks of babyback ribs, silver skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  1. *Please note the salt in this recipe has already been reduced in response to community feedback. (The original called for 3 tbsp.)
  2. Cut each rack of ribs in half to make them easier to handle, and lay them on a baking sheet or tray.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl and rub into the ribs, front and back. Really massaging it in, and use all the rub. Cover the sheet and place in the fridge for at least an hour, and up to 10 hours.
  4. Light your grill and set the heat to medium low, with evenly distributed heat. When the grill is heated, add the ribs bone-side down, and close the lid.
  5. Let them go for about 20 minutes, then flip them. Close the lid and reduce heat to low. Let the ribs cook another 15 minutes, then check them. Move them around a little, keeping them meat-side down, so that they get even color on the meat side. Close the lid again.
  6. On my grill, these need to cook for 10 minutes more, for a total of 45 minutes, but every grill is different. When the meat is receding from the bone and the meat is really dark and caramelized, pull them off.
  7. Let them rest for about 15 minutes before carving and serving.

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