Before the grilles are fired up on this Memorial Day, let’s all take a moment to remember, honor, and thank the brave men and women in the armed forces who—past and present—have put their lives on the line to protect this great country of ours. On days such as this—and many others, of course, I think of my WWII Marine Dad, who fought in the Pacific as a young man. Thanks, Dad—we all remember you with love and pride! (p.s. Your only grandson, whom you never got to meet, has your eyes.)
Back to baby back! Hard as it is for me to believe now, I had never had barbequed spareribs, other than Chinese spareribs, in my life until I was in my 30s. It just wasn’t anything my Italian mom had in her repertoire. In addition, we lived in the city in a 3-family house with no yard, so there wasn’t a lot of grilling going on either. Finally, eating out at restaurants didn’t happen but on rare occasions, so I really had little opportunity to be exposed to foods that weren’t Italian in nature.
Once I was out on my own, I discovered that I really liked BBQ Spareribs but didn’t know the first thing about how to prepare and make them. Oh, I tried once. The recipe/technique required boiling the ribs for a period of time, and then baking them, and then grilling to glaze them. Phew! They were not memorable for the work involved, and I just figured ribs weren’t something I was meant to cook.
That all changed when I met my friend, Jill, at work. Jill is another avid foodie, and we just clicked and immediately started exchanging recipes and talking food nonstop. She had read an article in the Chicago Tribune about a BBQ custom blend seasoning that the Illinois Pork Producers Association made for pork and chicken and sent away for a bottle. Jill gave the seasoning two thumbs up; and the rest, as they say, is history. She also cued me in on how to cook the spareribs—slow and low—until the meat is fall-off tender. After I ordered my own bottle of seasoning and made my first batch of finger-lickin’ good ribs, I ordered 5 more bottles to share the love with my sisters and friends.
During the grilling season, I take advantage of every opportunity to make these orgasmically delicious ribs. Swedish relatives or Boston cousins visiting? Make ribs and send them home with a baggie of seasoning and ordering instructions! Agneta, Roger’s cousin, told us that her son liked the ribs so much she made them for Christmas dinner that year in Stockholm. After my cousin Bob’s visit, he e-mailed me to let me know that, after his neighbors sampled the ribs he made, they consider him to be a “BBQ savant.” He told them it was an “old family recipe.” Not a major stretch since I’m “old,” we’re “family,” and it’s a recipe!
Excuse me while I go check on the ribs…..
- 1 lb. baby back ribs per person
- BBQ Custom Blend Seasoning from the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) or use pork spice of your choice
- Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (or your favorite)
Cover bottom of large pan with aluminum foil to save on clean-up. Place racks of ribs in one or more pans. Sprinkle both sides of ribs liberally with the BBQ seasoning. Cover and seal the pan(s) with aluminum foil.
Bake at 250o for 4 hours without looking. Then, test the ribs with a fork to see if meat pulls easily from the bone. If it doesn’t, cover pan again and bake for another 30 to 60 minutes and check again.
Once ribs are cooked, brush with BBQ sauce and grill for a few minutes each side to glaze the ribs. Cut ribs into manageable sections and serve immediately.
Source: My fellow foodie and best buddy, Jill
Note: You can order the BBQ Custom Blend Seasoning from the Illinois Pork Producers Association by calling them at 217-529-3100.