Perfectly tender but still charbroiled, these baby back ribs are sticky sweet and fall right off the bone. The best part? They start in the oven and are finished on the grill. With this recipe in hand, these will be the best ribs you’ve ever had!
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, cayenne pepper, and celery seed. Mix and sprinkle over the rack of ribs. Rub into the meat to ensure everything is covered. Wrap the rack of ribs in tin foil and place them on a large baking sheet. Place in the preheated 350°F oven and bake until tender, 2 hours.
While the ribs are baking, heat the oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and salt. Sauté until the onion is softened and beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Once the onion is soft, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until the paste is darkened, 3-4 minutes. Add the ketchup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, yellow mustard, and liquid smoke. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened, 10-15 minutes. Once thickened, remove the sauce from the heat and set it aside.
Preheat the grill on high for 15 minutes. Once preheated, turn the heat to medium-high. When the ribs are tender, remove them from the oven and discard the tin foil. Brush the ribs with ⅓ cup of the sauce and place on the preheated grill. Grill until the sauce is beginning to caramelize and cling to the ribs, 15-20 minutes. More sauce can be brushed on for a thicker layer. Serve immediately with the remaining sauce.
When possible, make sure to buy ribs that are not brined. Often, grocery stores will sell brined meat to "enhance" the flavor. This simply means that the mean is pumped with salt water. While this enhanced flavor sounds great, the problem is that brined meat usually does not have as much meaty flavor and can have a soft texture. Avoid this when possible.
Liquid smoke is an ingredient you won't use a lot but is worth having in the kitchen. One bottle will last for years. Liquid smoke is literally the condensation from smoker grills bottled up. The intense, smoky liquid adds an amazing flavor with just a few drops. Instantly, this liquid will make something taste like it has been smoked for hours.