Super smoky and sticky baby back ribs are a summer cookout essential. Here, our best baby back rib recipes for you to make the next time you fire up the grill.

By F&W Editors
July 13, 2015
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Ribs are a summertime cookout classic, and we’ve gathered some of our favorite baby back rib recipes so you can enjoy them all season long. The spread includes spicy and sticky baby back ribs, honey-tamarind baby back ribs, and sour-cherry-glazed ribs. Some use a grill, others cook in the oven—either way, you’re in for a delicious meal.

Tim Byres has a no-fail method for ribs: He rubs them with a seasoned beer-based mop and cooks them in a foil packet for almost an hour to keep them moist before smoking them over wood.

To create the flavorings for these ribs, Donald Link combines eight spices for a rub and prepares a barbecue sauce with homemade pork stock. Here, we cut back the number of spices to five essentials, and use canned beef broth in the barbecue sauce.

These luscious, extra-porky ribs are based on a recipe Michel Nischan's mother, a talented Southern cook, used to make. "Mom would stand in front of the grill, flipping the ribs and basting them with ham stock every few minutes until they got incredibly tender. It took forever, but it was so worth it," Nischan recalls. This version uses a broiler and a warm oven instead of a grill.

Naturally tart tamarind keeps the honey-based barbecue sauce from becoming too sweet for the luscious, slow-cooked ribs. Opt for dark, runny tamarind concentrate instead of tamarind pulp, which needs to be soaked and strained before using; it's available at Asian markets.

At Pok Pok, Andy Ricker roasts these meaty, tender ribs for two to three hours over a low fire for a fabulously smoky flavor. In this easy adaptation, the ribs are slow-cooked in the oven, then finished on the grill. Baby back ribs cut across the bone are the classic Thai choice, but whole ribs are just as delicious.

These tender, slow-cooked pork ribs are rubbed with a spice blend featuring ancho, paprika, oregano and cumin.

For Steven Raichlen, perfection means ribs that are tender, sweet and spicy—just the sort of ribs you get when you coat baby backs with a homemade rub, baste them with apple cider, grill them with plenty of hickory smoke and serve them with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.

"I started making my Abilene sauce 20 years ago, and every year I tweak it or add something," says chef James Holmes of his signature barbecue sauce. Despite its spicy intensity, the pork and beer flavors come straight through.

Steven Raichlen bastes these ribs with an optional mop sauce, made with distilled white vinegar, water, Dijon mustard, and salt.

These finger-licking ribs from Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple get great flavor from a Sriracha-spiked barbecue sauce.

Instead of reaching for crushed red pepper, try using small whole dried red chiles, which retain their biting taste. Garlic is also critical to this recipe; when added to pineapple or other fruit in a barbecue sauce, it creates a lovely balance between spicy and sweet. The sauce can be used to glaze grilled pork chops, chicken and shrimp.

Using baby back ribs that are pre-cut shortens the cooking time. Here Melissa Rubel Jacobson coats the ribs in a marvelously sweet and sticky orange-marmalade glaze with a touch of crushed red pepper.

All you need to make this recipe is baby back ribs, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, sage leaves, and rosemary sprigs.

These sticky, apple-scented ribs are cooked in the oven, then finished on the grill. They're a simpler version of a recipe by champion pit master Chris Lilly, who cooks his ribs entirely on the grill.

Blueberry glaze makes the edges on these ribs nice and sticky.

These succulent ribs are adapted from the cookbook Dok Suni: Recipes from My Mother's Korean Kitchen by Jenny Kwak.