Fall-off-the-Bone Baby Back Ribs


For years I played around with barbecue ribs, trying to find a way to make them so that the meat was moist and tender but also relatively quick and easy. A few years back, Shay, who worked with me since the opening of Foster’s Market, gave me her recipe for ribs, and they’re as good as any I’ve ever had. The ribs can be baked (through step 3) up to a day in advance, but you’ll need to leave them on the grill a few minutes longer to make sure they heat all the way through.

Serves 4 to 6

2 slabs baby back ribs (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1 large onion, sliced
1 12-ounce bottle of beer
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups homemade barbecue sauce or your favorite bottled sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

2. To remove the membrane from the back of the ribs take a small dull knife, like an oyster or table knife, and pry the tip of the knife between the membrane and bone at the edge of the ribs in the center of the slab. Lift to separate the membrane from the bone, then grab the membrane with your fingers and pull it off and discard.

3. Spread the onion slices evenly on a baking sheet with sides and place the ribs, bone-side down, on top. Pour the beer over the ribs, season with salt and pepper, and cover tightly with foil. Bake undisturbed for 2 hours.

4. Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill and let the coals burn to a gray ash with a faint red glow, or until you can hold your hand 3 to 4 inches above the fire for no more than 6 seconds.

5. Brush both sides of the ribs with the barbecue sauce and place them, meat side down, over the coals. Grill the ribs for 10 to 15 minutes, or until charred, basting several times. Turn the ribs and baste the cooked side liberally. Close the lid of the grill and cook the ribs 10 to 15 minutes longer, basting often. Cut the slabs into individual ribs, pile them onto a large platter, and serve warm.