The Absolute Best Baby Back Ribs Ever

I've been grilling ribs for years now on a charcoal grill with indirect heat but I have recently discovered a far better way to make them and my ribs will never be the same. I have adapted the recipe from Food-52 "Genius Recipes." In the original recipe, the ribs are first baked in the oven for 2 hours until they are falling off the bone. We like our meat with a bit of bite and still clinging well to the bone so I halved the baking time. They were also cut into servings of 4 ribs each and wrapped in aluminum foil. I cut the rack(s) in half, place them in a roasting pan and cover the entire pan with foil. They suggest that grilling the baked ribs is optional but I much prefer them crispy with a gilding of barbecue sauce of your favorite barbecue sauce.

The beauty of this technique is that by baking the ribs with a little water, tightly covered, almost all the fat is removed but the ribs stay incredibly juicy. Also, it works perfectly to bake the ribs a day ahead, refrigerate them, and in under 10 minutes they grill to perfection. For the short amount of grilling time I now use my gas grill as the preheating time is so much shorter.

Note: baby back ribs come anywhere from 1 pound to 2 pounds. I prefer the less fatty 1 pound racks. 1 pound of ribs per person makes a generous serving.

Several hours ahead make a spice rub and rub it into both sides of the rack(s) for every 2 pounds of ribs combine: 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder 1/4 teaspoon paprika (preferably smoked) Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C.

If necessary, cut each rack in half and set the racks in a roasting pan. For each rack add 1 tablespoon of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1-1/2 hours (or longer if you prefer). Carefully open the foil to allow the steam to escape and lift out the racks. (Pour off the juices and, if desired, cool and refrigerate them for adding to rice or stock. The fat that rises to the top can be used for frying or discarded.)

Grill the ribs or allow them to cool and refrigerate them until shortly before you are ready to grill and serve them. Preheat the grill as per manufacturer's directions. Grill the racks on high heat for 2 minutes a side or until browned. If desired, brush the ribs side with barbecue sauce and return the racks to the grill, ribs side up, but turn off the center burners or move them away from the coals as the sauce burns quickly. Continue grilling for another 2 minutes to set the sauce. Then flip the racks and repeat with the meaty side. Enjoy!