Many of you on IG have been asking for my ribs recipe so I’m just going to get straight to it (relatively concisely). A few key points before you dive into the recipe though:

  • You need time for good ribs. The key to fall-off-the-bone tender ribs is the slow cooking in its own juices, wrapped in aluminum foil without room for that steam to escape! Done right, it should be challenging to maneuver the entire rack of ribs with a pair of tongs because the meat will just fall right off.
  • The searing process for Maillard reaction is super quick (10 minutes maximum) on the barbecue. Longer on the grill = drier meat. Make it snappy.
  • Cut of ribs: baby back ribs make the uncontested best ribs with this recipe. Side ribs (i.e., St. Louis-style ribs) also work well but they’re not as melt-in-your-mouth.
  • I use a secret recipe for the dry rub. Sorry, I will not be sharing this recipe. Use a brown sugar-based rub: this Allrecipes recipe is a basic example that will do the trick. (Hint: I would add some dried herbs and additional spices to that recipe to improve it.)
  • My favourite store-bought BBQ sauce is Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce (found at Loblaws in Kingston). Personally, BBQ sauce can make or break ribs, so choose one you know you like.
  • My go-to favourite buttermilk cornbread recipe can be found here.
  • If you don’t have access to a BBQ or if it’s a culturally unacceptable time of year to BBQ, you can do the charring under your oven broiler on high, which yields just-as-good results (how I make ribs in the winter).
Dry rubbed, pre-wrapping in foil.
Just after slow-cooking. Meat should be cooked all the way through.
Cast iron skillet buttermilk cornbread: recipe.

Baby back ribs (as many as you want up to max that will fit in your oven)
Your favourite brown sugar-based dry rub
Your favourite BBQ sauce
Aluminum foil

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove the tough membrane (i.e., parietal pleura) on the bony side of the rack. I find this easiest to do by loosening with my finger inserted in the intercostal space on one end, then gripping the loose end with a piece of paper towel and peeling back to the other side. (See Wikihow article for step-by-step with videos.)
  3. Give the ribs a good dab down with clean paper towels to remove excess juice.
  4. Generously sprinkle both sides of the rack with the dry rub and give it a sensual massage until all the sugar has been rubbed in. Do this on both sides and in all of the crevices you can get into.
  5. TIGHTLY wrap the ribs with long pieces of aluminum foil. You may need multiple layers to completely engulf the rack. It is paramount to the fall-off-the-bone tenderness you’re looking for that steam does not escape during this next step. If you make a hole, put another layer around it.
  6. Place the ribs on baking trays and bake for 3 hours. To check if it’s done, you can unwrap a small piece of the foil: the meat should just crumble right off and should not look pink all the way through. If still pink/attached to the bone, back in the oven!
  7. When ready, move to the grill. Heat to searing range (400-500 degrees Fahrenheit). Once hot, cleaned, and oiled, place the rack of ribs on the grill, lather on the BBQ sauce and flip. Let the sauced side sizzle for about 3-5 min, making sure not to burn. In the meantime, lather BBQ sauce on the unsauced side. Then flip and sizzle for another 3-5 min.
  8. Remove from grill. Chop and serve immediately, with cornbread and additional BBQ sauce PRN.