Each time I’ve made ribs, it always included a homemade bbq sauce with ketchup, worcestershire, brown sugar, vinegar etc. but this recipe didn’t include any of that (except for the brown sugar), which is what makes this recipe so extraordinary. I slathered the ribs with a wonderful spice rub, which then slow-cooked in a low oven for about 6 hours. I then took the natural juices that the ribs excreted during these 6 hours and reduced it to create this amazing syrupy sauce. It was so much easier than making a bbq sauce and it tasted 100 times better than a bbq sauce. After all, how can you beat a thick syrupy sauce made from it’s own fatty juices?

Sweet and Smoky Oven Spareribs (adapted from Smitten Kitchen):

Yields 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 pounds spareribs, cut into 2 slabs, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place a cooling rack inside a baking sheet; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, cloves and cinnamon.

Place each slab of ribs on a piece of foil large enough to fold into a packet. Sprinkle the spice rub over the ribs, rubbing in thoroughly on all sides. With the ribs meat-side down, tightly fold the foil to form sealed packets.

Place the sealed packets on top of prepared rack.

Place into oven and bake for 4 hours. Reduce oven temperature to 175 degrees F and bake until a fork easily penetrates the meat, about 2 more hours.

Open each packet and pour the accumulated juices into a saucepan. Bring juices to a simmer and reduce by about half, until they cling to a spoon. Turn off the heat and add the paprika and vinegar.

Remove the ribs from the foil, coat with the sauce and serve. For extra caramelization, the ribs can be finished for a few minutes under the broiler, before being coated with sauce.

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