Slow cooking baby back ribs transforms them into bites of succulent pork that melt in your mouth. The low, slow heat breaks down the tissues and fibers and makes the meat fall off the bones. Although they're good eaten plain with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, many rib aficionados insist that no rib is complete without a slathering of sauce. There are sauces to satisfy every palate with varying levels of sweetness and spicy hot flavors.
Beer Barbecue Sauce
Nothing goes better with barbecue than a cold beer, but it's also a great addition to barbecue sauce. Whisk together equal parts of a good steak sauce and quality dark beer, season it with Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes and salt and cook to a simmer. Let cool before dressing the baby back ribs with it right before braising in a crock-style slow cooker or covered pan in a 325-degree Fahrenheit oven. For an extra kick, substitute half or all the beer with bourbon.
If you like your baby backs with a little spice, give them an extra layer of flavor with a rub before cooking, and then sauce them when they're done. Combine paprika, salt, brown sugar, chili powder, minced garlic, cumin, dry mustard and cayenne pepper and rub the rib rack on all sides with the mixture before cooking. When they're done, brush them with a spicy sauce. For a zesty homemade barbecue sauce, add minced garlic and jalapeno to sauteed onion and season with Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, brown sugar and white sugar. Add a generous amount of ketchup and water and cook to the desired consistency.
Easiest Rib Sauce
Dressing up store-bought barbecue sauce with some pantry items produces a sauce with deep, rich flavors that make it taste like it's been simmered for hours. Rub the raw baby back ribs with a simple mixture of salt, dry mustard, paprika, cayenne and black pepper before slow cooking. Drain the juice off the cooked ribs and add enough water to make 1 1/2 cups. Add an equal amount of bottled barbecue sauce and blend well. Baste the slow-cooked ribs with the sauce and place under the broiler for a few minutes to let the sauce caramelize.
The salty soy sauce combined with the sweetness of apple juice and molasses makes a baby back rib glaze reminiscent of hoisin sauce used in Asian barbecue. Before you cook the ribs, rub them with a dry mixture of salt, paprika, granulated garlic, chili powder, dry mustard and black pepper. When they're done, sauce them right before serving with a sauce made from soy sauce, apple juice, molasses, ketchup, cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and black pepper. Eat them as is or run them under the broiler to add a slight crunch to the ribs.
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