I’m not really a fan of ribs, typically. Sure, I like a nice short rib here and there but a slab of ribs isn’t really my bag. I have a thing about eating meat directly off the bone.
Enter Ian Knauer’s Sticky Balsamic Ribs.
I live in an area that takes its ribs seriously. And frequently those ribs are done KC-style. Most often, they’re treated to a dry rub, smoked low and slow, then sauced with something thick and a bit sweet. When I came across the recipe for Sticky Balsamic Ribs in Food52’s Genius Recipes, I had a bit of a Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot moment. 425 degrees F for 1-3/4 hours? What? LOW AND SLOW! You do ribs low and slow!
Oh, Andrea of little faith.
These ribs were fabulous. They were fall-off-the-bone tender. And the glaze… oh yes, the glaze. A little sweet. A little spicy. A little acidic. A few minutes under the broiler after the initial bake crisped up and caramelized the glazed surfaces and edges into sticky & sweet meat candy. Had it not been in the middle of the night, I would have finished them off on the grill but the broiler did a fine job too. I saved the leftover glaze for a pork loin roast.
I served them with some creamy cheese grits and a massaged kale salad. And I had a second helping.
- 8 large garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
- 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 pounds baby back pork ribs
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- Mash up with garlic with 1 teaspoon salt. Mix into the mash the rosemary, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, cayenne, remaining tablespoon of salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the ribs and marinate them in the fridge for 8 to 24 hours. (I cut each slab into thirds and put them all into a covered bowl to fix into my already full fridge.)
- Move your oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Divide up your ribs into 2 roasting pans. (I used 9x13s.) Pour ½ cup water into each pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Roast the ribs for about 1-3/4 hours or until very tender, switching the pans' positions at the halfway mark. Remove the pans from the oven and place the ribs on a platter or foil-covered surface.
- While they're still hot, add 1 cup water to each roasting pan and use a whisk or spoon to scrape up the caramelized bits. Skim off the fat and then pour the liquid into a skillet or sauce pan. Add 1 cup vinegar and ½ cup brown sugar. Bring up to a boil and stir occasionally while the glaze reduces down to a thick syrup. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Prepare your grill for direct-heat cooking cover medium hot charcoal or medium heat on a gas grill. Alternatively, you can broil the ribs about 4 inches from the heating element.
- Brush both sides of the ribs with the glaze. Grill them for about 6 minutes or until they're hot and you see grill marks. Turn them occasionally. OR... pop them under the broiler for about 6 minutes.
- Brush more glaze on the ribs and serve! You can also serve the remaining glaze on the side.