Baby back ribs

As far as I’m concerned, nothing celebrates a national holiday like a good barbecue. Unfortunately for us, we lack space for a grill, so we improvise. This year I splurged on two delicious, juicy, tender racks of ribs at the fancy, fancy Whole Foods in Lincoln Park and cooked them up in the oven.

Side note: entering the Lincoln Park Whole Foods is like discovering food-topia. I’ve been to many different Whole Foods in many different states–LP’s is by far the most fabulous. And I think you have to see it to believe it.

I have a recipe for ribs with a blackberry jam glaze that I found years ago on Rachel Ray’s website. You know, back when she was a cute chef instead of…whatever it is she does now. What I’ve learned over the years of making it is that it’s crucial to start with good source material. Hence, the WF splurge. Also, I’ve lowered her oven temps a little and cut the recipe down for just 2 racks of ribs (instead of four). Someday I plan to convert this recipe to a grill. Some day when my outside square footage consists of more than a wooden deck. In the meantime, these ribs were positively melt-in-your-mouth divine. Enjoy!

Baby Back Ribs with Jammy Glaze

Tweaked from Everyday with Rachel Ray

  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 6 oz seedless blackberry jam (about half a jar)
  • 1/8 c ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp steak sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp your favorite hot sauce (or more to taste)
  1. Arrange your oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with foil and place the ribs in the center, bone sides up.
  3. Combine the chili powder, salt, and pepper, and rub the mixture all over the bony sides of the ribs. Flip the ribs and rub spices into the meat.
  4. Cover each rack of ribs snugly with a blanket of foil and bake for 60 minutes, one on each oven rack. After the first 30 minutes, swap the pans on the oven racks.
  5. After the ribs have baked for an hour, remove from the oven and remove the foil blankets. Put them back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Combine the jam, ketchup, steak sauce, and vinegar in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Stir often until the sauce comes to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the hot sauce.
  7. Remove the ribs from the oven again and pre-heat your broiler. Brush each rack of ribs with a generous amount of sauce.
  8. Broil the ribs for about 2 minutes. At this point, the sauce should be slightly crispy. Allow ribs to rest for a few minutes before cutting; serve with leftover sauce on the side.

I served this with a bright summer salad of cucumbers and tomatoes, the recipe for which you can find here.

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