This sticky baby back ribs recipe needs just two things: time in the oven and a jammy, savory sauce. Inspired by old-fashioned cocktail meatball recipes from the 1960s and ’70s, this sweet and sour glaze — a shellac of Concord grape jelly, soy sauce and rice vinegar — lacquers tender baby back ribs that cook from start to finish in the oven. Whether you serve these with beer at a party or with white rice as a fun dinner, you’ll probably need napkins.
Baby Back Ribs With Sweet and Sour Glaze
• 1 large rack baby back pork ribs (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed but left whole
• 3/4 cup Concord grape jelly
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler and another rack on the bottom of the oven. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. If you’d like to remove the membrane from the bony underside of the ribs, use a small knife to release one corner of the thin membrane, then pull off the rest with your hands and discard.
In a small bowl, stir together the salt, onion powder and black pepper. Season the ribs on both sides with the spice mixture. Wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil as if wrapping a present, place on a sheet pan flesh-side down and bake on the bottom rack until the meat is tender and pulls away easily from the bones, 2-2 1/2 hours.
Remove the ribs from the oven, then heat the broiler. Unwrap the ribs and, reserving the foil with its juic es, transfer the ribs to the sheet pan flesh-side up. Carefully tip the juices from the foil into a large skillet. Stir in the garlic, jelly, vinegar and soy sauce, and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the glaze is syrupy and reduced by about half, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Brush or spoon half of the glaze, including the garlic cloves, over the ribs. Place back in the oven and broil until charred in spots, 1-3 minutes. (Don’t step away!)
Place the ribs on a cutting board and spoon over the rest of the glaze. Cut between the bones into individual riblets and transfer to a large platter to serve.
Total time: 2 1/2 hours, serves 4.
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