Barbecues can be about more than just burgers and potato salad, especially when they are done Southern style. For this indulgent recipe, these Melt in Your Mouth Ribs take their sweet time cooking to perfection in the oven and on the grill.
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325° F.
Set out two sheets of aluminum foil that are longer than the racks of ribs, one on top of the other. Set aside two more sheets of foil that are the same size as the first two.
Look for a white membrane, called the silver skin, on the underside of the ribs. If it hasn’t been removed by the butcher, cut a slit in the center of the ribs just through the membrane. With your fingers or a dull knife, work from the center out to the edges until you can grasp the silver skin and pull it off the ribs. Repeat with the other half. Set the ribs aside.
To make the rub, combine the brown sugar, garlic and onion powders, paprika, chili powder and cumin in a small bowl. Add cayenne if using. Mix with a fork, breaking up any clumps, until well blended.
Rub the mixture on both sides of the racks of ribs. Lay the seasoned ribs, meaty side down, on one of the double layers of foil. Stack the second rack of ribs on top of the first.
Place the second two sheets of foil on top of the ribs. Press the top layers of foil snugly around the ribs and then pinch the edges of the foil together and roll upward to seal the packet tightly.
Place the packet on a baking sheet and bake for 1½-2 hours* or until the meat shrinks back, exposing more of the bone. When checking on the ribs, be careful of the steam trapped within the packet. Remove rib packet from oven. Preheat the broiler or heat your outdoor grill.
Remove ribs from foil and cut each rack into 2 or 3 pieces. Transfer the cooking liquid from the foil packet into a saucepan and reduce until slightly thickened over medium-high heat, stirring often. Add the barbecue sauce to the pot and whisk together.
If broiling, glaze the ribs by putting them back on baking sheet, meat side down. Brush with the barbecue sauce and broil for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly. Remove from the oven, turn the rib pieces over with tongs, brush the meaty side with the barbecue sauce and return to the broiler. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until done.
If grilling, lightly coat the hot grates with olive oil. Brush the bony side of the ribs with barbecue sauce and place on the grill, meaty side up. Brush the sauce on the top, close the lid and cook on medium-high until the glaze is cooked on, about 2 minutes. Flip the ribs over so the meaty side is down and finish cooking until glazed.
Serve hot with extra sauce at the table.
*If using full-sized St. Louis-style ribs, bake for 2½-3 hours.
Jane Evans Bonacci is an avid cook, baker and passionate foodie. Diagnosed as gluten intolerant in 2012, she currently shares her cooking memories of traditional home cooking on her blog, The Heritage Cook, theheritagecook.com.