amazing ribs

4    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
2-1/2 hours

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amazing ribs

I never really had success grilling ribs until my friend Lynn taught me to braise them first in beer. She got the idea from the Foster’s Market, Fresh Every Day cookbook, but apparently a lot of rib-meisters know about this. It was a revelation to me—I swear these are the best ribs I’ve had since my days eating at Gates Barbecue in Kansas City. These are really easy to make and adapt: sometimes I forget about the spices and just use garlic salt as the seasoning; and you can use any barbecue sauce you like—heck, even make it yourself if you are ambitious. I love these served with smoky creamed corn and Naneita’s coleslaw or lemony potato salad.


2 racks pork spareribs or baby back ribs (see note)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
12-ounce bottle or can of beer
1 bottle BBQ sauce of choice


If using pork spareribs, have the butcher remove the membrane sheath on the back of the ribs to make them easier to cut up and eat when cooked.

Preheat an oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, combine the salt, cumin, and paprika. Place the racks of ribs side by side on a rimmed large baking sheet. Pour the beer over the ribs, then sprinkle them with the seasoned salt mixture. Wrap pan tightly in a few layers of foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven carefully (so liquid doesn’t slosh out) and let cool for about 10 minutes before lifting off the foil (otherwise the steam may burn you).

Meanwhile, prepare an outdoor grill: if using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, prepare an indirect fire (briquettes banked on one side of the kettle).

Take ribs off the baking sheet (discard liquid in pan) and brush generously with barbecue sauce on top only, then put on grill, sauce side up, and close the lid. Grill until sauce is baked on and ribs are slightly charred, about 25 minutes, without turning ribs. To serve, slice between ribs and offer additional barbecue sauce (warmed, if you like) in a bowl alongside.

note: Baby back ribs are the ribs from a boned pork loin; spareribs are from the area where the bacon is removed. They have about the same amount of meat and the same number of ribs in a rack: 13. I actually prefer spareribs, but that’s because I grew up eating them. Some butchers carry both; some carry only baby backs. Both work equally well. I can easily eat a half rack (as can most adults) so I plan on 2 racks for 4 people, but this recipe doubles, triples, quadruples as needed and grill space allows.