These ribs have a wonderful complex, sticky sauce that makes them the kind of food you shouldn’t eat on a first date, unless you want to see what the other person is really made of. Cooking them in an oven allows you to avoid the flare-ups that are so difficult to avoid when a drippy sauce comes in contact with live fire. The apricot preserves bring on the tangy sweetness, the spices provide savory notes, and the ketchup, onions, and garlic hit all of the right notes of classic bbq sauce. Extra sauce can also be used on chicken or pork chops.
Mashed potatoes let the extra sauce that you pass at the table have something nice to meet up with on the plate. You can make the sauce up to a week ahead of time, and store it in a jar or container in the fridge.
|2 racks St. Louis style ribs (about 5 pounds)||2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or 1 tablespoon dry mustard|
|kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste||1/4 cup molasses|
|2 tablespoons olive oil||2 tablespoons white wine vinegar|
|1 large onion, minced||1 teaspoon dried thyme|
|2 garlic cloves, finely minced||1 teaspoon ground cumin|
|2 cups ketchup||1 teaspoon ground paprika|
|1 cup apricot preserves|
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Rub the lightly ribs with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Place them meaty side up in a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 ½ hours, until almost cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a saucepan heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat, then sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the ketchup, apricot preserves, mustard, molasses, vinegar, thyme, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Lower the hat and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Pour half (about 1 ½ cups) of the sauce in a separate bowl for serving, and keep the rest in the pot for basting.
When the ribs are almost cooked through, turn the heat up to 375°F. Flip them meaty side down, baste the ribs generously with the sauce in the pot, and bake for 15 minutes, then flip the ribs, baste generously again, and bake until nicely caramelized, about 20 more minutes. If they aren’t as browned as you would like you can turn the oven to broil and give them a few minutes under the broiler, but keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
Remove from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes before cutting them and serving with the additional sauce passed on the side.
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