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~ Mel's Best Broiled 'n Baked Baby-Back Spareribs ~

Desert Blend Ribs (Finished #1)

Every grill master, including my husband Joe, son Jesse, cousin Victor and neighbor Bill, has his own method for cooking the perfect rack of ribs.  Each of them spends many relaxing summer afternoons tending to his customized grill and/or smoker.  Behind closed doors, they each concoct secret spice rubs and barbecue sauces.  "To marinate or not to marinate" is their burning question and spirited ongoing debate.  My following recipe likely breaks every rule in their "big barbecue book in the sky", but it produces perfect ribs each and every time!

I developed this simple oven method for preparing ribs out of desperation.  I wanted PERFECT ribs, EVERY time, ANY time of the year.  Why?  Because sometimes, while listening to the cold winter wind howl outside, with the snow falling on my back porches and watching the skiiers glide down the slopes of Tussey Mountain, I get a good, ole'-fashioned hankerin' for a rack of ribs.  Who wouldn't want to eat a great rack of ribs while sitting in front of a roaring fireplace watching the pretty snowflakes fall?  Get the picture!  I don't think I can make it any clearer!

Next folks... feel free to use your own favorite spice rub and barbecue sauce.  Whether you buy them or make them, they will work beautifully in this recipe.  I just happen to be using some products from my FAVORITE place to get THE ABSOLUTE BEST spice rubs, spice mixes, barbecue sauces, etc.:  Located in Albuquerque, NM, I've gotta say Anna Herrera Shawver owns and operates a top notch company.  My "hat is off" to her.  I've been buying her products for over 6 years and each and every one is my idea of a good time!   Today, I'll be preparing my ribs with a coating of their Chile Blend, followed by their Desert Blend and sauced with their Holy Chipotle! Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.  Here we go:

Desert Blend Ribs #1 (Ingredients)~ Step 1Inside these two bottles of perfectly blended spice mixtures, you will have enough ingredients to coat 6 full racks of baby-back spareribs.

In my oven method for perfectly cooking the ribs, I only do three full racks at one time, which all fit in one pan, and feeds 6 people very nicely.  This means you'll use about half a bottle of each of these products.

Desert Blend Ribs #2 (Removing Silver Skin) ~ Step 2.  Removing the silverskin (the thin, white, silvery connective tissue on the underside of each rack).  First off, rinse your ribs under cold running water, then pat them thoroughly dry using some paper towels.

Starting at the narrow end of each rack, use the tip of a boning knife (or a very sharp paring knife) to separate a small 1/2"-3/4" piece of the silverskin from the meat.  Using your fingertips and a firm grip, pull/tear the silverskin off of the entire surface.  If it does not come off in one piece, use the knife to separate a second piece and continue.  This process works best if the ribs are at room temperature, so take them out of the refrigerator about 1-2 hours prior to cooking them.   Also, it only takes takes about 1-2 minutes per rack of ribs to accomplish this task. 

Do you have to remove the silverskin?  No, but there are two good reasons why you should:  #1) It makes the ribs easier to cut, which makes for a better presentation, and; #2) It allows the spice blend to actually flavor the meat, not just sit on the top of the skin doing absolutely nothing.  Listen to me on this one folks:  Be a pro and learn how to remove the silverskin!

Desert Blend Ribs #3 (Season with Chile Blend)~ Step 3.  Season the underside of the ribs with a light coating of Chile Blend. 







Desert Blend Ribs #4 (Season with Desert Blend) ~ Step 4.  Season the ribs with a light coating of the Desert Blend, sprinkled on top of the Chile Blend.  Allow to rest, about 15-20 minutes.

Flip the ribs over and repeat the Chile Blend and Desert Blend sprinkling process on the top sides of the ribs.  Allow to rest, about 15-20 minutes. 

If you are using your own spice blend, just remember to follow the resting process before putting the ribs in the oven to broil and bake.

Desert Blend Ribs #5 (Ready for Oven) ~ Step 5.  Place all 3 racks, underside/curved side up, slightly overlapping in a large disposable roasting pan into which a rack has been placed in the bottom.  Place in oven, about 8" under preheated broiler, until racks are golden brown, about 20-22 minutes.

Remove from oven, turn/flip ribs over and return to broiler, until topsides are golden brown, about 18-22 minutes.  Remove from oven and set oven temp to 350 degrees.

~ Step 6.  Cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil (a tight seal, with no tears in the foil is important so the ribs do  not dry out... if you see a rip or a tear in the foil, start over... do not screw this instruction up).  Return pan to oven and bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven, 1-1 1/2 hours, depending on your tenderness preference:  after 1 hour, ribs will be cooked through with meat clinging somewhat firmly to the bone; after 1 1/2 hours, meat will be falling off the bone.  I personally like my ribs after 1 hour, 15 minutes!

Desert Blend Ribs #6 (Finished)

To serve, remove pan from oven and carefully remove the foil (be careful because the steam generated inside can burn you).  In microwave or on stovetop heat your barbecue sauce.  Brush sauce on both sides of all three racks, or,  slice ribs, place on a large serving platter and drizzle with sauce (in either case, serve additional sauce, at tableside for dipping or drizzing)!

Mel's Best Broiled 'n Baked Baby-Back Spareribs:  Recipe yields 3 full racks of baby-back spareribs and serves 6 as a main course, or 12 as appetizers.

Special Equipment List:  paper towels; 12" boning knife or sharp paring knife; 20" x 12" x 4" disposable aluminum roasting pan; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" cooling rack; aluminum foil; pastry brush; cutting board; chef's knife

Cook's Note:  This method for cooking ribs works terrific if you are hosting a large gathering and are preparing several satellite dishes as well, meaning:  you simply do not have the time to tirelessly tend to your grill and/or smoker for the length of time necessary, PLUS, make all of the other food too.  You can thank me later... or mix me a drink!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010) 


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