Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions

on November 26, 2014

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It was touch and go for a while there, but, I was finally able to retrieve my last set of pictures for this recipe. It’s funny, you get so used to your computer, like a comfortable shoe. This one has been with me a long time so I have to make this post the last one that I will ever type on “otld Betsy” before I put her to pasture. Anyway enough will all that let me tell you about these #sweetandsmokey ribs. The first thing that you need to know is that when you buy ribs there is some preparation that you need to do before you can spice up your ribs.

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As you can see the ribs need some work. First I turn them over and remove the silver skin that’s on the back side of all ribs. You need to remove this because it will help you spices penetrate through the meat, and this skin is not appetizing at all. Take your fingers at one corner of the back side and start to separate it from the ribs, kind of like your starting a piece of tape on a new roll that you want to get started. Once you grab a hold of it, it should peel right off for you, as you can see in the picture above. Next I like to trim off  a couple of the end rib pieces. I like the rectangle style that St. Louis ribs are known to have. Now if you like those end pieces, you can of course, by all means, leave them on. I also trim off some of that extra meat that’s on the back side. You can see what I’m talking about in the first picture. I like for my ribs to be as clean rack as I can make them. The last picture at the top shows how I like them to be before adding my spice rub.

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So here’s what I’ve done to make my oven into a make shift smoker. When I know I’m making ribs in the house, I add 3 cups of apple wood chips to a large bowl and filled it with water, just to cover the wood chips in the morning so they are good and moist when I’m ready for them. 1 hour is probably plenty of time for this process. The next step is to get my spices together for the dry rub portion of the ribs. In a bowl I throw in 2 tablespoons each of garlic powder, ground Chipotle powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, onion powder, ground mustard, Kosher salt. cayenne pepper, Ancho chili powder, dried oregano (optional), and 1 tablespoon of black pepper.  Then I add in 1/2 of dark brown sugar,and 1/4 cup of sweet paprika. I know that’s a lot of spices but remember I’m rubbing 2 racks of ribs front and back. So I whisk all the spices together and then rub them all over the ribs. From here, i put them in the frig for an 1 hour, overnight is even better. All of this can be done in advance if you know you going to be making this recipe. After the ribs have rested in the frig for at least an hour, I take them out and I’ve already got the baking sheets ready and lined with foil.

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So now I’ve lined 2 baking sheets with foil, since I’m doing 2 racks. On each of the baking sheets I’ve laid another piece of foil, which is twice the length of the baking sheet. This is where I’m spreading out 1 large onion that I’ve sliced on each of the pans. The onions will act as a bed to set the ribs on, so the heat can transfer easily around them. In the second and third picture you can see that I just fold the extra foil over the ribs and fold up all the sides around the rack to trap the heat in. This will cause the ribs to steam for an 1-1/2 at 275 degrees. Low and slow.

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Next I uncover the ribs, place the wood chips in an oven safe vessel, and place the wood chips below the ribs. Then I turn the temperature down to 230 degrees and let them smoke for about another 3 hours. Now I like my ribs to be tender but not where they will fall apart when you cut them. This means they are overcooked.  If after the 2-1/2 hours you see the ends of the rib bones are exposed on one end, they are done. If not, continue smoking. Watch for the internal temperature to reach 180 degrees. Take a knife and stick the point of the knife between the bones and if the knife comes out really easily they’re done. There are just so many variables when cooking ribs, it just takes some practice, and getting to know you oven. The goal is to get the internal temperature of the meat to 180-185 degrees because, the sauce stage is next.

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You can see in this picture how the rib bones are exposed, and the ribs are in tact. So I remove the foil pouches. i place the onions on the bottom and place the ribs on top. In a large bowl I add a bottle of my favorite barbecue sauce. To the sauce I add in 1 cup of real maple syrup, for another depth of that smokey flavor. I also add in 1/4 cup of apricot jam. I heated this all together on low on top of the stove until all the flavors have combined and then brush this delicious sauce all over the ribs on both sides. I remove the wood chips, they’ve done their job. I put my oven on broil and put both racks back in but I leave the oven door cracked. The reason I do this, is because the sugar in the sauce will burn really quickly. I just keep my eye on them, it doesn’t take long maybe 10 minutes or so and they are ready. Sweet and smokey ribs with caramelized onions are ready. Serve with some of that awesome barbecue sauce in case you want some extra to dip you ribs in. Talk about finger lickin” good!

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