Grill/Barbecue

Ian Knauer's Sticky Balsamic Ribs

August 18, 2011
Photo by James Ransom
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.

Notes:
- 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
Ingredients
  • 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
In This Recipe
Directions
  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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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.