Most people probably think of grilling ribs in the summer months. For sure, backyard picnics are the perfect time to nibble on messy, saucy BBQ ribs. But for me, my favorite time for ribs is in the fall because Erik cooks his up with a perfect for fall, apple cider reduction sauce. (My mouth literally waters as I type the words!)
Now when Erik cooks ribs, it is an all day affair. He makes sure that these beauties are slow cooked and “fall-off-the-bone” tender by the time they are done. He starts by roasting them in the oven for a few hours and then finishes them off on the grill. The perfect time to cook these is on a beautiful Indian summer weekend day while your family has no prior commitments and you can relax about the house as it fills with the aroma of these delicious ribs roasting in the oven. In fact, as soon as my 8 year old son smells these in the living room he starts chuckling and saying “I know what’s for dinner: RIBS (with a long drawn out short i sound in the middle). And his eyes get wide and his lips start munching on an imaginary bone. Of course these ribs work great for a crowd as well and Erik and I always find that people are pleasantly surprised by the sweet apple cider flavor of the ribs rather than the traditional BBQ flavor that normally just comes from a bottle of sauce.
Erik and I hope that you too will be able to find a perfect, lazy fall day to make these unique seasonal ribs for your family as well.
A note about this recipe: For the spice rub on these ribs, Erik always used to make his own homemade rub. However, he recently discovered and now highly recommends a rub called Pork Barrel BBQ All American Seasoning and Rub. (You can see the bottle on the first picture in this post) He likes this pre-made rub because there are spices in it that can be hard to find on their own like ancho chili pepper and chipotle chili pepper. This is the spice rub that is called for in the ingredients list. However, we have included the ingredients he uses in his homemade rub in the Instructions section of the recipe if you are unable to locate this particular brand which incidentally, we have found at our local Costco.
Regarding the cooking methods explained here: After the initial roasting period for these ribs, Erik’s instructions call for you to then move the ribs to the grill. If this preparation does not work for you, Erik has also included an alternative completely oven baked preparation in the instructions.
- 2 racks of ribs with the membranes removed
- 1 c. Pork Barrel BBQ All American Seasoning and Rub (see optional spices in instructions)
- 1c. brown sugar
- 2 c. apple cider
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c. worcestershire sauce
- Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees
- Mix spices and brown sugar in a large bowl. (alternatively to the Pork Barrel spice mix use: 1 c. Paprika, 4 TBLS kosher salt, 2 TBLS ground black pepper, 4 TBLS granulated garlic, 2 TBLS dried mustard. Mix altogether with brown sugar.)
- Place ribs in a large baking dish/roasting pan ( 12x20) and generously coat them with the spice rub mix. You may continue to cook them at this point or cover them and place in the refrigerator for a couple hours or up to eight (overnight). Before placing them in the oven, pour apple cider, vinegar and worcestershire sauce into the bottom of the pan (NOT over top of the ribs or spice rub will wash off.) Cover pan and put a 275 degree oven for 2 1/2- 3 1/2 hours or until meat starts shrinking back from the bones.
- Remove ribs from the pan and strain the remaining liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or gravy separator. If not using a gravy separator, allow liquid to stand, allowing the fat to rise and strain it off the top. OR with a gravy separator, simply pour off the fat from the liquid. Once separated, pour remaining liquid into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens to a glaze consistency being careful not to burn it. 15-20 minutes.
- Next, prepare charcoal grill for indirect grilling at a temperature of approximately 350 degrees. Place ribs on the grill and throw a handful of applewood chips over the coals. Close lid and grill for 45 minutes. (OR alternatively, place ribs back in a large pan and roast in the oven cranked up to 350 degrees for 45 minutes)
- Remove ribs from the heat and allow to stand for 15-20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Slice up ribs and drizzle apple cider glaze over the top and serve immediately