Tuscan Baby Back Ribs
© James Ransom

Tuscan Baby Back Ribs



  1. 2 quarts water
  2. 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
  5. 2 tablespoons ground fennel
  6. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  7. 2 teaspoons juniper berries, crushed
  8. 2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crumbled
  9. 4 bay leaves
  10. 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally, plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  11. Two 2-pound racks of pork baby back ribs
  12. 4 large anchovy fillets, mashed
  13. 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  14. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  15. 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the water with the salt, sugar, peppercorns, fennel, coriander seeds, juniper berries, marjoram, bay leaves and the halved head of garlic, Bring the brine to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Arrange the racks of pork ribs in a single layer in a roasting pan just large enough to hold them. Add the brine and the remaining 6 cups of water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and for up to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Drain and rinse the ribs and pat dry. Set the racks on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and cover with foil. Roast for about 2 hours, or until very tender.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the anchovies and the remaining 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, then stir in the lemon juice. Add the 1/2 cup of olive oil and the parsley.
  4. Light a grill. Brush the grate with oil and grill the racks over a medium-hot fire for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and browned. Transfer the racks to a cutting board and cut in between the ribs. Toss the ribs in the dressing and pile on a platter. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Make Ahead
The ribs can be grilled 4 hours ahead; keep at room temperature.
Beer The dark malt of Deschutes Black Butte Porter will complement the complex spicing of the ribs. Or opt for smoky Samuel Adams Cream Stout.