Millions of people love Ina Garten because she writes recipes that make home cooks look great, family and friends shower them with praise and yet the dishes couldn't be simpler to prepare using ingredients found in any grocery store. In Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, Ina takes easy a step further, sharing her secrets for pulling off deeply satisfying meals that have the 'wow' factor we all desire. One of Ina's sensational summer recipes is her Foolproof Ribs with BC Barbecue Sauce. And her secret to perfect grilled ribs — cook them in the oven first! "There are two great benefits of this method: first, instead of fussing with the heat of the coals, all I have to do is put the ribs in the oven, set a timer and forget about them; and second, I can make them ahead! Early in the day, I'll roast the ribs, and just before serving, I'll fire up the grill and barbecue them". She created this recipe after making three types of barbecue sauces: one mustardy, one tomatoey, and one Asian. When she tasted them, like Goldilocks, the first one was too mustardy, the second was too tomatoey, and the third was too Asian! So she decided to try combining the three, and it turned out being the best sauce she'd ever tried. This is the result, and it's her favourite to this day.
Ina's 'Foolproof: Recipes You Can Really Trust' Cookbook
Finely chopped onion sautéed in vegetable oil for 10 minutes until translucent
A tablespoon of minced garlic added and sautéed for another minute
All of the other sauce ingredients are added and mixed well until blended
The mixture is brought to a boil then reduced to simmer for 30 minutes
After half an hour the sauce is thick and flavourful
2 racks of St. Louis Style Ribs
When purchasing ribs, people can often find themselves confused with the choice between back ribs and side ribs. Side ribs, or 'spare ribs' are from the belly of the pig, close to the area that's often made into bacon and therefore can be fattier. They have wide heavy bones that are usually around 10 inches long. Less expensive than back ribs, they can be quite tasty when slow cooked properly. Ribs that have the breastbone removed and the flank meat trimmed away are called 'St. Louis Style Ribs,' and are about 5 inches wide and perfect for barbecuing. Back ribs are from the pig’s loin, and are much narrower than side ribs, around 3-6 inches long. These are known for being more tender and for having a lower fat content than side ribs, and although more expensive than side ribs, may be a better choice for those who are health conscious as there is less fat. 'Baby Back Ribs' is simply another name for back ribs. For this recipe I used St. Louis Style for their flavour and generous rib size, with Ina's BBQ sauce making them "finger licking good."
After 90 minutes at 350°F the ribs are smothered with more BBQ sauce then allowed to rest until set on the outdoor grill until nicely browned
Ina's Foolproof Ribs with Barbecue Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
5 lb Baby Back or St. Louis Style Ribs
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Barefoot Contessa Barbecue Sauce:
1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
1 tbsp minced garlic, about 3 cloves
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
For the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the onions and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Use the sauce immediately or pour into a container and refrigerate for several weeks.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the ribs meat side up, then sprinkle them with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Pour the BBQ sauce generously on each rack and cover the ribs loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hours for baby back and 1 3/4 hours for St. Louis Style ribs, until the meat is very tender when tested with a fork. As soon as the ribs are out of the oven, spread them generously with additional BBQ sauce. They can be grilled right away or refrigerated to grill later.
About 40 minutes before you want to serve, heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat, and brush the cooking grate with vegetable oil to keep the ribs from sticking. Place the ribs on the grill ribs-side down, and grill lid-down for 5 minutes. Turn the ribs meat-side down, put the lid back down, and grill for another 4-5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow the ribs to rest for 10 minutes. Cut into ribs into serving portions and serve hot with extra BBQ sauce on the side. Delicious served with my tried-and-true Jalapeño Corn Pudding and homemade cole slaw.