This summer the boyfriend and I have been doing a lot of rib experimenting. We’ve grilled our ribs, used a slow cooker, baked and broiled them in the oven, and I think my favorite version by far is the oven method, finished on the grill. I really love how tender the ribs get… like fall off the bone tender. You can get this with a slow cooker as well, but I think the slow cooker takes ribs a little too far. I feel like the meat becomes a little too soft and I don’t like how the bones also get so soft you can easily bend and break them in half. While I love cooking them on the grill, I’m still fudging with the process a little. I love the smoky flavor you get, but I’m still having a little trouble maintaining a low temperature for many hours. I love these Honey Hoisin Baby Back Ribs because they get nice and sticky once the glaze is slathered on and it’s place back under the broiler.
A dry rub is really great way to boost the flavor or meats. It’s made up of dry ingredients that are rubbed onto the mea before it is cooked. The 12 hour dry rub is a must. It really helps to tenderize the meat as well as impart awesome flavor deep into the flesh. The best way to apply the dry rub is to first blot the meat with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Sprinkle the dry rub mixture over the meat and lightly massage it into surface of the meat. The longer you leave the rub on, the more time the flavor of the spices have to penetrate into the meat. You don’t want to leave the rub on too long though. A minimum of two hours or overnight is perfect.
I know the dry rub list…well the entire ingredient list for that matter, looks a little scary, but I guarantee you these ribs are worth it. You can totally also simplify the dry rub with a little garlic powder, sugar and salt, but I love this particular combination of spices.
Baby Back Vs Spare Ribs
We like baby back ribs because they are leaner and more tender. Spare ribs have more fat on the bones, and can be a little tough. That is why we love using baby back ribs for tender fall off the bone ribs.
How to Cook Baby Back Ribs in the Oven
This recipe is for making baby back ribs in the oven. Here is a quick run down on how to make baby back ribs in the oven:
- Dry rub your ribs for 12 hour
- Braise the ribs in the oven. Pour braising liquid over the ribs and tightly wrap with all the braising liquid. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
- Broil Ribs with Glaze. After they have baked unwrap and brush glaze all over the ribs. Broil meat side up for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with one more round of Glaze.
Finishing the ribs on the grill (optional)
If you would rather finish these on the grill, which is my personal preference, I recommend you reserve the braising liquid. I would (carefully) throw the ribs onto a hot grill (pre-glazed), meat side up, and mop the braising liquid over the rack every 3 minutes for 6 to 9 minutes. Brush the glaze over the ribs, on both sides and allow the glaze to caramelize for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the grill.
- Although I’ve stuck to Asian flavors for these ribs, you can totally change the flavor profile around with a simple dry rub (as mentioned above) and finish the ribs with a barbecue sauce of your choice if that’s your preference.
- You can use spare ribs for this recipe if you prefer. You will need to adjust the cook time.
Hungry for more?
Honey Hoisin Baby Back Ribs
- 1 (3 lb) rack baby back ribs
- 1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup sake or white wine
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon minced shallots
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
honey hoisin glaze
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons ponzu sauce
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Place ribs on a baking sheet, lined with plastic wrap.
- Mix together all the dry rub ingredients until well combined. Smother ribs with the dry rub, on both sides, until fully coated and tightly wrap with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate and allow ribs to marinate for 12 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325˚F.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together all braising liquid ingredients.
- Remove ribs from the refrigerator and unwrap. Place ribs atop a large sheet of heavy duty foil, meat side down, and lift up all sides around the ribs. Pour braising liquid over ribs and tightly wrap.
- Place ribs onto a baking sheet and place into oven for about 2 1/2 hours.
- While the ribs bake, place all glaze ingredients into a small saucepan and stir together. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the glaze reduces and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and allow glaze to cool.
- Remove ribs from the oven and carefully unwrap. Remove ribs from the foil completely and place back onto the baking sheet, meat side down.
- Turn broiler on high in oven.
- Brush some of the glaze over the ribs and carefully flip over. Brush the glaze over the meaty side of the ribs and place under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Brush ribs with more glaze and return to broiler for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until caramelized and the edges begin to crisp.
- Remove from broiler and allow ribs to rest for about 10 minutes. Top with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve.