Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Baked Baby-Back Ribs with Chipotle-Maple Barbecue Sauce

As delicious as baby-back ribs are when cooked out on the grill, you can also get some pretty darn delicious ribs right out of your oven on a cold winter day. A couple hours of baking ensures juicy, tender texture, but don’t forget the sauce—that’s where the big flavor comes in.

For this recipe, I went with the smoky, savory taste of chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos). Chipotles canned in adobo sauce bring rich, smoky flavor and a good amount of heat to any dish—and, of course, they’re super easy to work with. I don’t usually sing the praises of a canned product, but this one I do. Maple syrup balances the savor with a nice hint of sweetness.

And as I always like to include in rib recipesIf you’re new to preparing baby-back ribs, be aware that there’s a thin white membrane on the underside that needs to be removed before the ribs are cooked, whether you’re grilling, smoking, baking, or roasting them. Left on, the membrane can turn tough and make the ribs chewy instead of tender.

Sometimes the butcher at your local meat shop will score the membrane by making slashes in it through the length of the rack. This can help get you started, but it isn’t always necessary (or easier) to start with the score line in the middle of the ribs. Instead, use a sharp paring knife to gently scrape the top corner of the underside and pull the membrane away as you scrape. Note: It may not tear off in one nice, easy piece (think wallpaper).

Pull off membrane
Serve 2-3


For the Ribs
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt
  •  2-1/2-lb-rack baby-back ribs, halved in the middle, membrane removed
For the Sauce
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • sea salt 

For the Ribs
  1. Combine the cayenne and chile powders, garlic granules, and cumin in a small bowl and season with salt.
  2. Rub the spice mixture all over the ribs, covering both top and underside. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours (or overnight).
Spice Rub 
Spice-Rubbed Ribs
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the ribs meat side-up on the baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake 1-1/4 hours.
  3. Turn the ribs meat side-down and re-cover the pan. Continue baking 30 minutes. Remove the cover and turn the ribs meat side-up again.
  4. Baste generously with barbecue sauce (recipe follows) and continue baking, uncovered, until the ribs are very tender 15-20 minutes longer, adding more sauce as desired while the ribs finish.
Ready to Bake
After Turning 
Basted with Sauce
Transfer the rib racks to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before cutting into individual ribs.
Baked Baby-Back Ribs with Chipotle-Maple Barbecue Sauce
For the Sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until well combined.
  2. Cover and cook until flavors are developed, 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and let stand while the ribs finish. (Or make the sauce a day ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight, and bring to room temperature before using.)
Sauce Beginning to Cook 
Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

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