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How To Cook BBQ Baby Back Ribs
A picture illustrated guide on how to slow cook barbecued beef or pork baby back ribs with a special spice rub recipe.

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Beef Baby Back Ribs

 
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Pork Baby Back Ribs

 

Bread & Havarti Cheese

 

This meal was inspired by a Food Network show about the National BBQ Baby Back Ribs Cook Off. The entire time that we were watching the show, my girlfriend kept saying "I want ribs. I'm certainly not an expert at slow cooking barbecued baby back ribs, but this meal came out so well that I decided to post my spice rub recipe here on the site.

The program we saw on television made it clear that pork baby back ribs were highly preferred over beef ribs but I was curious about both kinds. When we visited the nearby Publix supermarket, I bought a 3.25lb package of beef ribs for just $6.49. The 2.30 pound package of pork ribs cost twice as much as the beef ribs at $12.63.

The Publix label conveniently informs shoppers that the pork ribs cost $5.49/lb compared to just $1.99 per pound for the beef ribs.

While at the supermarket, we also picked up a loaf of French bread and some havarti cheese to have as an appetizer.

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Spice Rub Ingredients
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To create my special BBQ baby back rib spice rub recipe, I just wrote down all the ingredients I heard ALL of the professionals mention on the Food Network show. So I ended up with 16 or so total ingredients that included cocoa chocolate powder, dark brown pure cane sugar, garlic salt, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, parsley flakes, black pepper, basil leaves, cinnamon, oregano, chili powder,  salt, paprika, and white sugar.
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Cocoa & Brown Sugar
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I wasn't sure how much of each ingredient I would need to create enough of the spice rub mixture to cover all 5.5 pounds of beef and pork baby back ribs so I just put a teaspoon of each ingredient into a glass bowl.
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Teaspoon After Teaspoon
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Bright Red Chili Powder
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Mixing The Spice Rub
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16 Spice Rub Ingredients
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Beef Ribs Rubbed
After I mixed up all the spice rub ingredients until the end result looked like a clump of dirt, I started rubbing it into the tops and undersides of both sets of meaty ribs. (My fingers smelled like a spicy nightmare for a few days!)
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Pork Ribs Rubbed
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Update - So right about here is where the members of the Barbeque news group tell me that I took the wrong path and opted for the oven rather than indirect heat on the grill. For next time I'll have to purchase a pan and some hickory or mesquite wood chips to convert my grill into a smoker for future attempts at bar-b-que baby back or spare ribs. I'd rather not risk offending the barbecuing experts once again.
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Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce
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3 Hours @ 225 Degrees
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Celery & Blue Cheese

Once the pork and beef baby back ribs were completely coated and massaged with the spice rub mixture, I inserted them into the 225 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven. I used grates to lift the meat up off the surface off the tray or pan to allow some of the fat from the ribs to drip away. Now we had 3 hours to kill until the longest stage of the baby back rib cooking process was complete. I went ahead and enjoyed a celebratory celery stick with blue cheese dressing. I anxiously opened the Jack Daniel's Original No. 7 barbecue sauce with brush in preparation for the final steps.

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Brushing On The Sauce
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Oven Cooked Ribs
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The Grill Is Fired Up!
There was less than 5 minutes left to go on the oven timer, the house was inundated with a strong spice aroma, and I was standing ready with my brush and Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce. I probably wasted some propane by firing up the grill a few minutes early, but I was ready to get these mouth watering ribs on the grill and into my mouth.
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Carmelized BBQ Sauce
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Tender Pork BBQ Ribs
Before, and while the ribs were placed on the preheated grill, I brushed generous amounts of BBQ sauce on both sides of the ribs. The grill was set to "High" in order to caramelize the sauce and sugar on the rub into a tasty and slightly crunchy coating that seals in the tender beef or pork meat. The beef ribs were a bit of a disappointment due to the high amount of fat. The pork baby back ribs, on the other hand, tasted excellent! If you're new to cooking BBQ rib, I recommend that you buy some quality pork ribs and experiment with your own spice rub recipe. Happy Grilling!


 

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