Grilled Baby Back Ribs

The grilling season started early this year and I’m happy about it.

Whenever the weather’s even the slightest bit warm, I can’t wait to abandon my kitchen and head into the backyard to do my cooking.

In celebration of the warmest Spring in Chicago history, I decided to grill baby back pork ribs, one of my favorites. When it comes to grilling pork ribs, I usually use either baby back ribs or spare ribs.

Baby back ribs are shorter, meatier and more curved than spare ribs. They usually are a little more expensive than spare ribs, but they make for better grilling.

My secret to making the best ribs is to boil them in salted water for about an hour before putting them on the grill. This completely cooks them until they are nearly falling off the bone and it makes it easy to grill them just right.

Another option is to roast the ribs for about an hour, but this dries them out more. A third option is to smoke your ribs all day in a smoker, which gives them a rich, smoky flavor. But if you are pressed for time, boiling the ribs is the best solution.

You can boil them up to a day ahead of time if you want, then let them cool before refrigerating your ribs until you are ready to grill them.

Make sure you peel off the sheet of cartilage on the back of the ribs. It’s easily removed once they have cooled. Removing this piece makes the ribs easier to eat and taste better.

Finally, I finish my ribs by spraying them with pan spray, seasoning them with salt and pepper, and marking them briefly on both sides on the hottest part of the grill. Next, I brush on a generous amount of barbeque sauce, move the ribs to a cooler part of the grill with indirect heat, cover them and then cook the ribs until the sauce gets tacky, about 10 minutes.

The result are delicious, sticky and delightful baby back ribs that are fun to eat and taste amazing. I always serve extra barbeque sauce on the side and have plenty of napkins available, as well as a bucket to throw the bones.

I like to serve my ribs with some charred sweet potato discs. These are easy to make are great for plating just about anything because you can stack them any way you want.

Wrap a sweet potato in a paper towel, stick it a few times with a fork and then microwave it for 10 minutes. After it’s cooled, cut it into cross sections, spray them with pan spray, season them with salt and pepper, then put them on the hottest part of the grill until they get a nice char.

You can easily make these way ahead of time and just reheat them whenever you’re ready to use them. They are great for adding height to a plate or giving a dash of color. Plus they taste great!

Charred corn on the cob naturally goes with ribs, of course, but the final part is a cole slaw. The acidity of the vinegar cuts the fat in the pork ribs, so the two pair perfectly together.

This baby back rib platter is the perfect start to what hopefully will be a long and rewarding backyard grilling season!

Asian Cole Slaw

2 cups Napa cabbage, sliced thin

1 carrot, peeled and grated

4 radishes, grated

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS Extra virgin olive oil

2 TBS honey

Sea salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

1. Combine cabbage, carrot and radish in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sesame and olive oils and honey. Taste the dressing so that it is balanced between sweet and tart.

2. Dress the slaw with the dressing and season with salt and pepper. It tastes better if you refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving it.

What are your favorite things to cook out? Share your ideas in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!


5 thoughts on “Grilled Baby Back Ribs

  1. Grilling season is still months away for us! We’ve had fresh snow this week. Our favourite food is lamb chops that have been marinated in herbs and garlic, followed by salmon steaks. I’m going to keep your slaw recipe and try it for our midsummer feast!

    Enjoy your summer!

  2. Guess I am a little late to the party, but – I love ribs and miss them prepared properly since I’ve lived in USA. I will try the boiling before grilling method come warmer weather – which at this rate may take another 2 months, since our snow is not all yet melted (and yes, it’s late April but you know, Sweden…). 🙂

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