BBQ baby back ribs


Dear god I love ribs. I am in love with the spare rib, for certain, but lately I’ve been cheating and having a torrid affair with its slim, high-rent cousin, the baby back rib. Sure, it’s less meat, but they tend to be easier to cook (and take a lot less time), but on average you’re also spending $3-5 dollars more per pound. Something to consider.

Now, a lot of BBQ purists and snobs and know-it-alls (and everywhere you turn, there’s some guy who claims to be the authority on BBQ) will scoff at sauce. You know what? I like a saucey rib. For one, I like condiments, and a rib sauce is like the ultimate opportunity to indulge your condiment fetish (a good thing if you’re — like me — the Marquis de Sade of condiments). Almost anything can be added, in sparing amounts, to a rib sauce. Why not seize the opportunity to put your shit to good use?

And sauce tastes good. Mind you, I dry rub my ribs too. I suspect they would taste pretty good without a saucing, if you went the extra steps and took special care in cooking and smoking your rib. But licking your fingers after every rib, wiping excess from your cheek (yes, that is uncomfortably pornographic), well, why would I deprive myself of such an experience for the sake of somebody else’s idea of authenticity?

And screw those BBQ snobs. America has been around, what, a couple hundred years? These guys act like they invented the fucking pig. The delicious swine (and cow, and lamb, and goat, and anything with blood) has been quartered and grilled and smoked for thousands of years. The rest of the meat-eating world didn’t suddenly wake up and take notice the moment some solipsistic asshat in St. Louis or Kansas City or Austin or Memphis or Carolina proclaimed himself King Shit of Fuck Mountain.

Rib rub

Use any/all of these, in any amounts you’d prefer. Experiment and find your spice rub g-spot, if you will. Feel free to add to this list — it’s not exhaustive by any means. Ground coffee or espresso? Onward, brave soldier.

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cumin
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Celery salt
  • Mustard powder
  • Chili powder (New Mexico, pasilla, de arbol)
  • Fennel
  • Ground cloves
  • 5 spice powder
  • Extract of wort and/or wormwood
  • Macerated erosberries
  • Ground farrah root
  • Essence of taint

Soak your ribs in a cold water brine of equal parts kosher salt and brown sugar for an hour. Some people add apple juice. Those people are my heroes. But my daughter drinks the apple juice in our house, so if I poured half her shit into a brine just to throw away it would be like her using my smoked hungarian paprika as a pigment base for her water coloring. Have some respect and empathy, people. Pat the ribs dry, and coat both sides with your most excellent rub. Prep your grill by building up your coals on one side, and proceed to BBQ on the cool side with the cover on, for about 2 hours, turning as you feel the need (usually every other beer or so – just make sure you aren’t drinking Hair of the Dog’s Fred are your ass will be kicked). For the last 15 minutes, I like to remove the ribs, remove the cover, and bring the heat/fire back up. Coat the ribs with your sauce and then return the ribs back to the grill to finish.


Let them cool for a bit (if you can resist the urge to gnaw the entire rack down to bone nubs). Slice and enjoy.


Der rib sauce

Like I previously stated, anything can go in a rib sauce pretty much. This is shit I had in my fridge and pantry, and the measurements are approximate. In reality, I just dumped shit in the pan. Remember, most anything will be work if you match the sweet and savory and acidic. Though I would probably steer clear of marshmallows, cod liver oil, and crystal meth.

  • 1 tblsp maple syrup
  • 7 dashes worcestshire
  • 2 tblsp CJ brand hot and spicy Korean BBQ sauce
  • 1 tblsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tblsp ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin
  • 1 teaspoon korean fermented black bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon Buffalo chipotle sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 3 tblsp water
  • 1 tablespoon Hennesey VSOP cognac
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Mushroom Stir Fry Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Stella Artois beer (I happened to be drinking this at the time. Use a lager or whatever you want. It’s your life.)

Combine all this shit in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for an hour and a half (preferably while the ribs are cooking or you’re the worst multi-tasker in the world).

10 thoughts on “BBQ baby back ribs

  1. I’m a rib snob. And I love a saucy rib. Dry ribs are ok – but they’re a bit… specialist (weird Southern coastal states and/or starters at a Chinese restaurant).


  2. Dear Carnivore,
    This post is a prime example of why I love you so much. I do not remember how it was I stumbled onto your meaty little corner of the internet, but I AM GLAD I DID.
    Thank you for being so fucking funny.
    Also, I plan to use this rib situation for my own betterment. Amen.

  3. OMG, Those ribs look amazing! I have 2 racks of baby backs in the fridge that I’m planning on cooking tomorrow and now I really can’t wait. Oh and I like saucy ribs, too.

  4. That’s beautiful. I have tears, literally, because it’s already too late to make ribs for dinner. And I gotta agree with you about the saucy part. It’s that crispy charred sauce and fat that makes the whole thing so perfect.

  5. Are you still reading these comments? I know you’re not. I think YOU sir, might be the worst multi-tasker in the world. You’re too busy defending tofu, I know.

    Question para tu: Have you bought ribs from Costco? Baby backs? Is they good? I’m getting rib cravings and might pop by there….

  6. Flynn – yes, that’s where I usually get my baby backs (New Seasons spare ribs are pretty much the same price so I go with them for the spare).

    They usually sell them two slabs per pack @$3.99/lb (vs. $6.99/lb at New Seasons!). I usually freeze one.

  7. I was thinking of looking for ribs at Costco. Thanks for the tip! I bought them at New Seasons last week and they were indeed SPENDY!

  8. Great article! I followed most of your tips and made my first ribs EVER. and they were the BEST ribs I’ve ever had. You rock! More ribs articles please!

  9. These ribs look great. I am going to try your
    recipe. But I have a question. I purchased Costco
    swift premium pork loin ribs (three to a pack). I
    tried removing the membrane from the rib and it
    looked as if it had already been removed. I showed
    my husband and he was sure it looked as if it was
    pre-removed. I usually buy my ribs at the grocery
    store in the butcher section and have had to always
    remove the membrane. Do you know anything about
    this brand (Costco Swift Pork Loin Ribs)? I am looking forward to cooking your recipe, Thanks for sharing. I
    will post a comment on how they turn out.