5
4 ratings

Herb-rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Ribs are rubbed with a mixture of herbs, black pepper, chile flakes and garlic and allowed to rest for a day before grilling
Herb-rubbed baby back ribs
Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

Baby back pork ribs, cut from the loin, while naturally tender, require about 1 1/4 hours of indirect cooking on a moderately hot (325 degrees) gas or charcoal grill. Cook the ribs in whole slabs, or, for portion control and ease of grilling, cut the slabs into halves or thirds. I serve half a slab of ribs to hearty eaters, one-third works when there are plenty of other side dishes.

This recipe by JeanMarie Brownson originally appeared in The Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
25 h 40 m
24 h 25 m
(prepare time)
1 h 15 m
(cook time)
6
Servings

Ingredients

For the ribs:

  • 3 Pounds baby back pork ribs (2 or 3 large slabs)
  • Herby rib rub, see recipe
  • Cherry or apple wood chunks
  • Barbecue sauce, optional

For the Herby rib rub:

  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse (kosher) salt
  • 2 Teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 2 Teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried lavender (optional)

Directions

For the ribs:

Step 1: Pat 2-3 racks of baby back ribs dry. If desired, cut each slab in half or into 3 sections. Season generously on all sides with some of the rib rub. Refrigerate loosely covered for up to 2 days. Remove from refrigerator while you prepare the grill so the ribs start to come to room temperature.

Step 2: Soak wood chunks in water to cover for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3: Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high. When the coals are covered with a gray ash, arrange them on two sides of the grill leaving the center empty. Place a drip pan on the bottom of the grill and place the cooking grate on top. If using a gas grill, turn off the burners in the center of the grill and turn the other burners to medium.

Step 4: Just before you put the meat on the grill, nestle a few drained wood chunks amongst the hot coals. If using a gas grill, wrap the wood chunks in aluminum foil and puncture the package with several holes. Place it under the cooking grate, close to the flames. Put ribs on grill over the drip pan (not directly over the heat). Cover grill and cook, turning once, until fork-tender and juices run clear, about 1 1/4 hours.

Step 5: Remove from grill; let rest 5 minutes before serving.

For the Herby rib rub:

Step 1: Mix 2 1/2  tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons coarse (kosher) salt in a mortar and pestle (or in a small dish).

Step 2: Add 2 teaspoons each dried thyme leaves and dried oregano leaves, 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary leaves and crushed red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon each freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder and dried lavender (optional). Use the pestle to grind everything together to release the oils in the dried herbs. If working in a bowl, use the handle end of a wooden spoon, or a cocktail muddler, to crush the herbs into the salt and sugar.

Step 3: Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. 

Makes: ½ cup.