Ribs: Two-Ways (and Val’s BBQ Sauce)

ribs with herbs

ribs with herbs

Ever since my friend Larry mentioned this tip about cooking ribs I’ve wanted to try it out.  Here it is: blast ribs in an oven for one hour on super high heat and the result will be delicious. Larry got this insider technique from a known butcher in town. Once he told me, I knew I wanted to have ribs on my Memorial Day menu. After playing around with the concept the last few weeks, here is my tasty final version.

We are a divided house on serving ribs dry vs. with BBQ sauce. So, I usually pull one rack out and sauce up the other in the oven for a little bit longer and everyone is happy.

dry rub ribs

rib spices

ribs with sauce

Ribs: Two-Ways (and Val’s BBQ Sauce)

Dry Rub Ribs

Serves 4


2 racks pork baby back ribs

1 T whole fennel seeds

1 T whole cumin seeds

1 chili de arbol


Preheat oven to 500

Toast spices in a dry pan until seeds are golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.


Remove the stem of the chili pepper. Then pound all the toasted ingredients in a mortar and pestle until it resembles a fine grain.


2 tsp dry aleppo pepper or chile powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika


Mix the peppers in with the toasted ingredients.


Pat the ribs dry with clean towels (paper or cloth) and season both sides of the meat with one tablespoon of kosher salt. Now, rub the dry spice mixture all over the ribs and place on a cookie sheet. Cook the hell out of them at 500 degrees for one hour. The result will be tender meat and crispy skin.


For serving sans sauce this easy gremolata gives a great freshness to the rich and succulent dry ribs. It’s pretty much perfection on a plate.


Gremolata (Way #1)

1/4 cup parsley, fine chop

Zest of one lemon

Pinch, red pepper flakes

Mix and sprinkle as a garnish on the cooked ribs. Enjoy!
roasting spices

grind spices

Val’s BBQ Sauce (Way #2)


I rarely buy BBQ sauce because I haven’t tasted one better than the homemade kind.  I have all these things in my pantry so it’s easy to throw together in a jiffy.


1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons sriracha

3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Mix all ingredients together in bowl, whisking until smooth and incorporated.


Following the recipe above cook the racks at 500 degrees for 1 hour remove them from the oven and lower the oven to 375.


Spoon or brush a few tablespoons of the sauce over each rack of ribs and cover with foil.


Cook an additional 15 – 20 minutes. Serve with sauce on the side and expect fingers to be licked.