Grab extra napkins! These oven roasted baby back ribs are tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness slathered in tangy BBQ sauce.
Hands down one of my favorite cities to visit is Austin, TX. Not only is it on point for live music and killer breakfast tacos, it is home to some ridiculously tasty barbecue.
We used to head down once a year to meet up with friends at Austin City Limits, a music festival held in Zilker Park where the local food vendors are almost as big of a draw as the music line-up. You can grab sloppy nachos from the Salt Lick, ice cream sandies from Tiff’s Treats, and my all-time favorite festival food…the Hot and Crunchy Mighty Cone. Sweet Mary Jane, one bite of this cone is worth the plane ride alone.
We would fill our bellies with local fare and ice cold beers while walking from stage to stage and invariably I would get so full that I would swear off food for the rest of the day. That is, until the late night cravings took hold and I succumbed to the pulled pork quesadillas from our favorite bar.
If I seem nostalgic about these music and food fueled trips it’s because I am. I haven’t been to ACL or Austin in a couple years and it’s not in the cards this year either. So after waxing poetic to my children about the plates of meaty goodness at Franklin Barbecue and la Barbecue, I decided it was time to make some melt in your mouth meat of my own.
My son Jack has a new found obsession for ribs, so I decided to put a smile on his face and make a pile of tender, saucy ribs slathered in homemade BBQ sauce. I covered them first in a dry rub, wrapped them up tight and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, they went straight into a 300 degree oven for a couple hours while I got busy with the sauce. Its got brown sugar, honey, vinegar, spices and bourbon, because, well…bourbon. It’s a little sweet, with a little heat, and a lot of tang. For the last hour I cranked the oven to 350 degrees, opened the foil wrap and drenched the ribs in sauce. They finish in the oven, uncovered, until they are impossibly tender and juicy.
I served them to my very hungry family with grilled corn, fresh bread, a green salad, ice cold beers and lemonade. We kept the wet naps and paper towels handy, the conversation light, and the music cranking. Just because I can’t make it to Austin this year, doesn’t mean I couldn’t bring a little Austin to me.
- 2 (3 lb) racks of pork loin babyback ribs
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Remove membrane from the racks. Lay each rack on a large piece of heavy duty foil (large enough to completely enclose the rack.)
Combine all ingredients for the dry rub. Sprinkle the dry rub over each rack on both sides, massaging it in.
Turn racks meat side up and wrap tightly. Place a on large baking sheet and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight.
Remove the racks from the refrigerator about 30 mins prior to roasting. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place the ribs, still wrapped in foil and on the tray, in the oven and roast for 2 hours.
While the ribs are roasting, make the BBQ sauce. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a medium saucepan, whisking well. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 mins, then turn off the heat.
When the ribs have roasted for 2 hours, remove them from the oven. Increase the heat to 350 degrees.
Open the foil and carefully drain the drippings into the BBQ sauce. Bring the BBQ sauce back to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Keep the ribs on the foil and generously brush them with BBQ sauce. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 50 - 60 mins, or until they are very tender, brushing them with BBQ sauce two more times.
Serve ribs with extra BBQ sauce on the side (and plenty of wet naps!).