Father’s Day kicks off summer in our house, and this is my go-to recipe for ribs.  They are spiced with a dry rub, baked slowly and coated with BBQ sauce and warmed or finished on the grill.  You can use your favorite dry rub and sauce or try mine.  I think one of the keys to the flavors in this recipe is to plan your time so that you can let the ribs sit overnight with the rub and bake them the next day, and even to let them sit overnight again after you’ve baked and then coated the ribs with the sauce.  These are deeee-licious!

Sue’s Fall-Off-the-Bone Spicy BBQ Ribs

(adapted from Southern Belle Magazine and advice from the butcher)
Here’s what you are going to need – you can adjust the meat, spice and sauce quantities based on how many people you’re feeding:
2 Racks Baby Back Ribs (or you can use any kind of pork or beef ribs for this) ~ membranes removed and cut into 2-3 rib segments (you can ask the butcher to do this for you)
Your favorite spice rub (mine is below)
1 (12-ounce) can of Root Beer (not diet), or 1 bottle Angry Orchard Hard Cider
Your favorite BBQ Sauce – I use Dreamland BBQ Sauce (Roll Tide!)
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
Heavy Duty Aluminum Pan
Directions (2 day prep)
The night before roasting:

Make the Spice Rub – this is my new favorite: Johnny’s Spice Rub  from All Recipes Magazine .  This rub is great on any kind of meat or fish.  It’s got a great layering of flavors with just enough heat – but feel free to add more chile powder or use different varieties to experiment with different flavors.  Chipotle Chile Powder will give you more heat with a very smoky flavor. Ancho Chile will be a bit different.  You can even use mixtures of chili powders.  If you’re a chile fan, have fun with this.  And as long as you’re getting out all these spices, it’s worth mixing up a big batch; if you’re feeding more than 8-10 people you’ll need to at least double the recipe anyway, and it’s great to have extra to keep onhand!   
4 Tbsp. ground paprika
2 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. salt (I use 1 ½ Tbsp. Kosher Salt)
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. mustard powder
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
½ tsp. dried oregano
(Here’s a tip: when I use up spices and herbs, I keep the jars and run them through the dishwasher. They’re perfect for storing my special spice mixes and spices I purchase in bulk.)

In a glass bowl, place all ingredients and combine with a whisk.  

Pat the ribs dry with paper towels.  Spray the pan with cooking spray.  Place the ribs in the pan and generously season both sides of the ribs with the rub.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day:
Preheat oven to 325° F.

Pour 1/2 of the can of Root Beer/Hard Cider into the pan of ribs and cover tightly with foil. Carefully place the ribs into the oven and bake for at least 4 hours.  Check for doneness by twisting a bone; the meat should practically fall off.

If serving that day:

Lift the foil (be careful, there will be lots of steam), drain the root beer/hard cider and the fat. Sauce the ribs (use your favorite jarred sauce or make your own – see my weapon of choice below!) and finish them off on the grill over indirect heat* for a few minutes, until the sauce is slightly caramelized and the ribs are heated through. 

If the weather is bad or you don’t have a grill, you can finish these fall off the bone ribs in a 300° F oven for about 30-40 minutes.

*Note: Indirect heat means to push your charcoal to one side of the grill or, if you have a gas grill, heat one side of the grill. Cook the ribs on the other side of the grill (if you put the ribs over the open flame, the sugar in your BBQ sauce will cause them to burn.)

If you plan to serve the following day:
Cool the ribs (until they are still a little warm) and pour BBQ sauce over them.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight.  Preheat the oven to 325F.  Pour additional sauce over the ribs, cover, and reheat in the oven for about an hour.  (Or grill as above.)

Serve these with extra sauce and lots of napkins, baked beans (I’ll be sharing my fave recipe for these with you next!), potato/green/pasta/fruit salad(s), and cornbread or biscuits. Such a delectable way to kick off the summer ~ enjoy!

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