Sweet and Smoky Ribs to Kick Off Summer

May 24, 2021 Updated: May 24, 2021

There are so many reasons to celebrate right now. Summer is upon us, more of us are vaccinated, and we can all get outside and carefully socialize. Let this Memorial Day be the official kickoff of summer and the barbecue season.

These ribs are finger-licking good with sweet and smoky flavor. A simple spice rub drives in more flavor to the meat, which gets a final baste and garnish with a smoky chipotle-laced barbecue sauce. You can simply rub the ribs before grilling and let them stand while you fire up your grill. But better yet, if you have the time, rub them the night before and refrigerate, uncovered, until 30 minutes before grilling. This extra time will deeply season and slightly cure the meat, ensuring a crispy, flavorful exterior.

Slow grilling is the name of the game when it comes to ribs. The hours spent cooking allow the meat to soften and tenderize, resulting in pull-apart goodness. Pour yourself a drink, pull up a garden chair, and relax. It’s almost summer.

Epoch Times Photo
A simple spice rub drives in more flavor to these ribs, which get a final baste and garnish with a smoky chipotle-laced barbecue sauce. (Lynda Balslev for Tastefood)

Chipotle Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes, plus standing or refrigerating time

Serves 6 to 8

  • 3 racks baby back pork ribs, each about 2 pounds

For the Rub

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/3 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced with juices
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl. Rub the ribs on all sides. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the grill. (The ribs can be rubbed up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated, uncovered. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.)

Make the sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add all of the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Cool to room temperature.

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over low heat (250 to 275 degrees).

Cook the ribs, bone side down, over indirect heat until the meat is very tender, about 3 hours, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. When the ribs are nearly done, lightly brush with some of the sauce.

Remove the ribs from the grill and cut between the bones (I prefer to cut two-bone pieces for serving). Lightly brush with the sauce and serve with the remaining sauce.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her Danish husband, two children, a cat, and a dog. Lynda studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and worked as a personal chef, culinary instructor, and food writer in Switzerland and Denmark. Copyright 2021 Lynda Balslev. Distributed by Andrew McMeel Syndication.