Smoky Baked Ribs

You just can't beat authentic smoked ribs, but these smoky baked ribs come pretty darned close to the real thing. This rib recipe comes in handy during blizzards, ice storms and hurricanes...

And this recipe is easy, too. No special equipment is needed other than a baking pan and a rack, which holds the baking ribs above the meat juices. This is what gives the ribs a nice crust, which is called the "bark" in barbecue circles.

Easy Smoky Baked Ribs

Prepping The Spareribs Before Baking

A whole sparerib slab can be cooked as-is, but will cook more evenly if it's trimmed a bit first. The two reasons for trimming are improved visual appeal and to ensure even cooking. You can prepare the spareribs yourself, or take the easy way out and buy them already trimmed. Baby back ribs will work well using this recipe too.

A dry rub seasoning can be mixed up from scratch, or bought already prepared. Common dry rub ingredients include onion powder, brown sugar, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper...even herbs like thyme, oregano, parsley and sage can be used. Here's a trick you can use to create a pink "smoke ring" under the bark of the ribs. Before rubbing the spareribs down with the dry rub, sprinkle on 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of curing mix (I use Morton's Tender Quick) onto the rib meat. As it is absorbed, it causes the meat to retain its pink color, even after it's cooked.

For that smokey flavor, your baked ribs will get a rubdown with a teaspoon of liquid smoke extract. There are several brands on the market you can use, and all I've tried have good flavor.

To cook the ribs, place them on a rack, above a baking pan to catch the juices. Put it all in a oven set to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for 3 to 4 hours. After the first hour of baking, baste the smoky baked ribs with a mixture of one can of beer and one tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Do this every half-hour. When done, the ribs separate easily when two bones are pulled away from each other.

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