I’ve been making ribs the exact same way for many years, but when I read this recipe, I predicted they would be spectacular.  Indeed, my expectations were spot on.  If you are also very partial to a particular tried-and-true recipe for barbecued ribs, please try this version:  they are sticky, sweet, spicy, juicy, tender, you and your guests will leave only a pile of very clean rib bones on the plate!

(adapted from The Parsley Thief, original recipe from Gourmet, 2009)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup  dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar  
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 Tablespoon salt (divided)
4 racks baby back pork ribs 
1 + 1/2 cups water (divided)
1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)

 Mix the rosemary, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar plus the cayenne pepper in a small bowl.  Mince the garlic, add 1 teaspoon of salt to it and mash with the side of a large knife to form a paste.  Add it to the marinade with  1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt and  1/2 teaspoon pepper & mix all the ingredients together.  Rub evenly over the ribs and place in a baking dish. Marinate, chilled, for 8-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Arrange the ribs in a large roasting pan and pour 1/2 cup water inside, under the ribs.  Cover tightly with foil, and  bake the ribs until the meat is very tender, about 2 and a half hours.  Remove from the oven and transfer the ribs to a platter.

Add 1 cup of water to the pan, and using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the browned bits.  Strain the liquid into a measuring cup, or gravy separator to remove the excess fat.   Transfer to a skillet and add  1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and  1/4 cup brown sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer gently until reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat the grill.  Brush some glaze over both sides of the ribs and grill, turning occasionally, until the ribs are hot and with nice grill marks all over, 6 to 8 minutes.   Brush the ribs with some more glaze and serve.


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Comments:  This is a perfect recipe for the heat wave we’re going through (111 F last week in Manhattan, 106 F this week in Norman), because the initial baking happens at a reasonably low temperature. Plus, you can do that step very early in the morning, even a couple of days ahead of your party.  Remove the ribs from the fridge an hour or so before  dinner, turn the grill on, and assemble a few side dishes. In less than 10 minutes you will be ready to enjoy THE most amazing ribs ever!   The balsamic glaze is a nice change from the usual barbecue sauce. I can see it complementing a thick piece of grilled salmon quite well.

Need the perfect dessert for the 4th?  Try my beloved’s husband patriotic pie!

ONE YEAR AGO: Baby Back Ribs on the 4th of July

TWO YEARS AGO: Blueberry Muffins

THREE YEARS AGO: A Pie for your 4th of July