Who Can Resist Baby Back Ribs?

ImageWell, it’s the end of summer (although the weather in the Adirondacks is still incredible) and everyone wants to cram in as many great meals to enjoy on a deck or porch before the onslaught of winter.  Although my cholesterol won’t allow it too often, I can’t resist the allure of baby back ribs.  I probably shouldn’t do it, but I have let my guard down and intend to release the recipe for my secret sauce.

The trick with ribs is to start out realizing that it takes time.  Slow and low are the keys to success: slow (around 6 hours cooking time), and low (around 250 degrees).  Some people like to smoke their ribs, some like to cook them on an open flame, I prefer the oven without smoke.

These ribs fall off the bone, are full of flavor, have a perfect crunchy BBQ bark, and beg for over-indulgence.

Along with the ribs there are classic accompaniments.  Just as you would never have roast turkey without stuffing, whipped potatoes, peas and squash; I would never serve ribs with out my favorite coleslaw, potato salad and fresh summer corn on the cob.

This recipe easily handles four (4) racks of ribs, but don’t assume that you need to have 4 people join you.  You may want to keep them for you and a friend.  The sauce will last for a good month in the refrigerator.

So…here goes:

Sorgule’s Secret BBQ SAUCE FOR RIBS:

Ketchup                         3 cups

Molasses                       3 T.

Honey                            2 T.

Brown Sugar                   2 T.

Red Wine Vinegar           1/4 cup

Red Currant Jelly            1/4 cup

Ground Cumin                 1 tsp.

Sea Salt                          1 tsp.

Ground black pepper       1/2 tsp.

Sriracha                           2 T.

Fresh Lemon Juice           2 T.

Orange Juice                   2 T.

Lemon zest                     from 1 lemon

Procedure:  Straight method.  Combine all ingredients in a mixer on low speed for 5 minutes.


Sea Salt                                 3 T.

Ground Black Pepper             1 tsp.

Chili Powder                          2 T.

Cumin                                   1 T.

Procedure:  Combine all ingredients


1.  Rinse off 4 racks of ribs with cold water

2. Pat dry.  Cover both sides of the ribs with the dry rub.

3. Place on a sheet tray in a 250 degree oven for 3 hours.  Turn after the first 1 1/2 hours.

4. Brush generously with the special sauce and return to the oven.  Re-baste every 30 minutes and continue to cook for an additional 3 hours at 250 degrees.


Savoy Cabbage (Chiffonade):              1 head

Raddichio (Chiffonade):                       1 head

Belgian Endive (Chiffonade):                1 head


White Balsamic Vinegar:                      3 T.

Olive Oil:                                            5 T.

Granulated Sugar:                               2 T.

Sea Salt:                                            1 T.

Crushed Red Pepper:                         1/2 tsp.

Fresh Lime Juice:                               1 lime

Celery Salt:                                        1 tsp.


Whisk the dressing ingredients.  Toss in with slaw ingredients, cover and allow to sit out at room temperature for at least 3 hours before service.

Although I am typically a wine drinker, only the least expensive beers do justice to ribs.  Pabst Blue Ribbon, Coors, or Corona are great accompaniments.  For some reason, if you prepare these when the weather isn’t sunny and 80, the experience suffers.

****Special thanks to Chef Curtiss Hemm for the use of his studio kitchen and his expertise as a photographer.  We would have taken more pictures but we caved in and ate the ribs.

3 responses to “Who Can Resist Baby Back Ribs?”

  1. I love all things pork. You’re barbecue sauce recipe looks really tasty and rich, I’ll have to give it a try.

  2. thanks Chef! I’m writing this down in “the book”!

  3. A million thanks for the recipes, Chef. Since the weather here is usually sunny and 80, I’m sure I’ll be making them often.

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About Me

PAUL SORGULE is a seasoned chef, culinary educator, established author, and industry consultant. These are his stories of cooks, chefs, and the environment of the professional kitchen.


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