Is it possible to make smokey, flavorful baby back ribs in your oven? You bet!
Use lapsang souchong tea to impart a smokey flavor to the ribs. Steven Raichlen’s basic barbecue rub recipe and Stubb’s Original Barbecue Sauce helped finish these ribs. We served these ribs with Ad Hoc Fried Chicken for our friend’s daughter’s birthday dinner.
1 slab of baby back ribs
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup finely ground lapsang souchong tea
Steven Raichlen’s Basic Barbecue Rub
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
3 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Place all ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to mix them together. Use your fingers to break up any lumps in the rub. You can store this rub in an airtight jar for at least 6 months.
- Coat both sides of the ribs liberally with the Raichlen’s rub, then wrap ribs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Adjust one oven rack to lowest position and second rack to upper-middle position (at least 5 inches below broiler). Place pizza stone on lower rack.
- When you’re ready to cook the ribs, preheat oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone on the lower rack of the oven. then transfer ribs from refrigerator to freezer for 45 minutes.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with at least two layers of aluminum foil
- Use a spice grinder to grind the lapsang souchong tea. Spread the ground tea evenly on the bottom of the baking sheet.
- Place a wire rack or roasting rack above the ground tea so that ribs are elevated above baking sheet
- Remove ribs from freezer and place on wire rack meat side up.
- Cover ribs with foil so that they are completely sealed. See smoker setup diagram at right.
- Place ribs in oven directly on the rack or a pre-heated pizza stone.
(Image from Cook’s Illustrated).
- Cook ribs for 30 minutes at 500 degrees.
- Reduce heat to 250 degrees. Leave oven open for a minute to cool it down. While oven is open, carefully open one corner of foil and pour apple juice into bottom of baking sheet and reseal foil.
- Cook ribs for about 90 minutes (check them after an hour). When the meat is done, it will have shrunk, exposing about 1/2 to 1 inch of bone.
- Remove foil and carefully flip racks bone side up; place baking sheet on upper-middle oven rack. Turn on broiler; cook ribs until well browned and crispy in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Flip ribs meat side up and cook until well browned and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes more.
- Glaze meat with barbecue sauce and return to oven for a 2-3 more minutes.
- Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve with barbecue sauce, if desired.