I recently impulse purchased some mighty fine looking ribs from Flying Pigs Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City. It wasn't the warm, wonderful day we're having now and I wasn't willing to brave the arctic temperatures and fire up the grill, so I decided there must be a way to capture that finger-lickin', meat fallin' off the bone experience in my kitchen.
You'll find more than a few recipes online, but don't be fooled. The golden rule of low and slow for traditional barbecue, holds true when adapting to an indoor technique. An easy-to-make dry rub and slow braise in a 250º oven yielded results to satisfy my craving. —Jennifer Perillo
Test Kitchen Notes
The recipe title doesn't lie: these ribs are seriously delicious. Jennifer Perillo's low and slow cooking method ensures tender meat, and broiling the ribs at the end caramelizes the glaze beautifully. We love the addition of Prosecco, which gives the glaze a faintly boozy flavor that's hard to put your finger on. And the combination of instant espresso and chipotle in the rub lends smoky depth. We reduced the glaze until it was very thick and syrupy, and found that it really clung to the ribs. We made these ribs twice, using both a grill and a broiler for the last step, and both work equally well. - A&M —The Editors
For the Dry Rub
freshly ground black pepper
instant espresso powder
chiptole powder (optional)
slabs pork baby back ribs (3 to 3 1/2 lbs total)
Add all the dry rub ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are combined, about two or three 1-second pulses. Rub mixture evenly all over each rack of ribs, making sure to coat top and bottom. Place ribs, single layer, on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan and let sit, covered, in the refrigerator for one hour.
Meanwhile, place liquid ingredients in a small pot and cook over medium heat until just hot. Alternately, you can add them to a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 1 minute.
Remove ribs from the refrigerator. Pour braising liquid over ribs, wrap tightly with heavy-duty foil and place in oven, side by side if possible. Cook for 2 ½ half hours. Alternate pans halfway through if cooking on separate racks in oven.
Remove pans from oven, discard foil and pour or spoon the braising liquid into a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a vigorous simmer and let cook until liquid reduces by half and becomes a thick, syrupy consistency, 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Brush the glaze on top of each rack of ribs. Place ribs under the broiler until the glaze begins to caramelize, one to two minutes (watch carefully, or all your waiting will be spoiled by burned ribs!). Slice and serve with remaining glaze on the side.
What to Drink: An old-fashioned made with Eagle Rare single barrel bourbon is the perfect partner.
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).