The secret to great ribs is time. You have to let the ribs marinate in the sauce, so they absorb deep flavor, and you have to be patient cooking them, a long time at a lower temperature, so they get fall-off-the-bone tender.
Especially this time of year, the easiest way to cook them is in the oven. Even if you’re a rib purist, and think you can’t make ribs without putting them in the smoker, I think you’ll like this recipe, and the ease of this technique. It requires very little work once you put them in the oven, produces a nice tender rib, and gets a wonderful spicy/smoky flavor from the chipotles.
Any of the three types of ribs on sale this week at Brookshire’s – St. Louis-style pork ribs, medium pork spareribs, or pork baby back ribs- would work in this recipe, but I’d probably pick the St. Louis-style ribs. “St. Louis-style” ribs just means that the tips, which can be gristly anyway, have been cut away, leaving a nice, flat, rectangular slab that will fit nicely in a roasting pan.
Oven BBQ’d Ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 cups ketchup
3/4 cup chipotles, canned
1 cup molasses
1/3 cup sugar
8-10 pounds ribs (about two St. Louis style rib racks, each cut in half, or about four baby-back rib racks)
Kosher salt, to taste
Heat the oil in medium saucepan on medium-high, and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the ribs; turn heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Put the ribs and the sauce in a large plastic sealable bag, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove ribs from bag and reserve liquid and set aside. Season ribs with salt. Arrange the ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, bring the barbecue sauce to a boil in a pot on the stove. Boil for 3 minutes, and set aside.
Uncover the ribs, turn them over, and bake an additional 30 minutes. Brush with barbecue sauce on both sides, and serve hot.