Babyback Ribs In Black and Gold

02/01/2011 11:30 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Ben Eisendrath Owner and designer-in-chief of Grillworks Inc, purveyer of fine wood-fired grills

ribs done.jpg

Steeler nation, allow me to present a fist food in the team colors.

Search the meat counter for racks of babybacks on the smaller side. Smaller grills faster and takes flavor more readily than bigger. Figure at least six ribs per male and four for the ladies. Err on the generous side as they make tasty, long-lasting leftovers. (shop for the rack on the left)


Pick up an industrial-sized bottle of Grey Poupon Dijon mustard.  No seeds. Experiments at Grillworks have proven that brand makes a difference here, and we give credit where it's due: Grey Poupon's flagship has a vinegar/heat balance that plays beautifully with pork.

Next march on over to the soy sauce shelf and choose your favorite in volume. Our go-to for this and most other applications is San-J, either standard or wheat-free. Since soy is a significant flavoring component in this dish go for the good stuff.

Last on the shopping list is a small jar of minced garlic in water. Don't crush fresh garlic this time - minced is milder. If yours isn't a garlic crew don't fret - this is the sole optional ingredient.

Game day take the ribs out and let them rise to room temperature. Don't skip this step - the relaxed pork will absorb seasonings better and the bones won't resist the grill as they would if refrigerator-cold.

Coat both sides of the rack with a thick blanket of gold.  When you can't see ribs anymore spoon on a tablespoon of the minced garlic and mix it into the covering.

Pour on the black. Splash generous amounts of soy sauce over the whole spectacle. Cover and let the ribs sit like that for about 30 minutes. 


Place the racks bone-down on the grill.  If you are using a wood grill we suggest oak that has been allowed to burn down to coals. Foster moderate heat so the underside and rib ends don't char too fast. The pork cooks up through the bone, infusing the meat with flavor and protecting it from drying in the direct heat. Keep lidded grills open and soy-baste continuously. The surface should never be dry.

Allow approximately thirty minutes of cooking time, longer if the racks are thick. Turn with about ten minutes left to sear the top. The Dijon-soy mixture will form a rich crust.


Separate one of the thickest ribs for a chef taste. You want to see a vanishing hint of pink in center near the bone - this will cook itself away as the babybacks cool.

Cut the racks into one or two-rib portions and pile a serving tray high. Flank it with a couple bowls of soy and Dijon for dipping and color (mostly color-they won't need any more seasoning).

You'll find the picked-clean bones make excellent TV pointers and do little permanent damage when thrown.

Go Steelers.

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