In the Pantry Challenge video series, Lauren Braun Costello -- chef, author and food stylist -- shows busy moms how to make meals using ingredients they already have in their pantries, solving their unique cooking challenges. In this episode, Lauren shows Aimee R., a mother of two and a PR executive, how to make barbecue baby back ribs without using a grill.
Achieving tender, intensely flavorful baby back ribs in the oven requires a few steps, but all of them are quite simple. It's when you put them all together that the magic happens. To begin, Lauren starts with two slabs of baby back ribs. She removes the membrane on the back of each rack with a paring knife, pulling with a paper towel to help her keep her grip. Then she makes a spice rub by combining paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, ginger, pepper and a generous amount of salt, which helps the flavors come alive. She spreads the rub on both sides of the ribs, then puts the ribs in the oven for their first round of cooking.
While the ribs cook, she prepares the apricot glaze. She melts apricot jam in a small saucepan to thin it out, then adds ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes (you can leave these out if you're serving kids).
Next, it's time for the second stage of cooking -- this time, the ribs are partially submerged in liquid. The wet heat tenderizes them and gives them that "fall off the bone" quality, plus the liquid -- a combination of ginger ale and liquid smoke -- imparts flavor. She creates a pouch out of aluminum foil for each rack of ribs, then pours the liquid over them and seals them up. Back into the oven they go.
Finally, it's time for the glaze. She takes the ribs out of their pouches (they'll have absorbed some of the liquid) and places them on a foil-lined tray and coats them with the sweet, sticky glaze. Another quick trip into the oven, and they're finished. Try them -- they're so good, you may never grill ribs again.
Get the Recipe for Apricot-Ginger Glazed Baby Back Ribs.