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Smokeless Ribs

Smokeless Ribs 

Courtesy of Who Are Those Guys? BBQ Competition Cooking Team

Lets be honest here, most everyone loves good ribs, but not everyone has a smoker. Here is a way to prepare ribs that anyone can do in the home kitchen then finish out on the grill. They have good flavor, but best of all, they are tender. Additionally, the ribs can be cooked in advance of your planed dinner, frozen, then thawed and finished on the grill before serving. This feature makes this dish great for tailgating or taking over to the neighbor’s house on Friday night. Cook these right, and your friends will think you know what you are doing, even if you really don’t. 


1 rack of baby back ribs

3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

3 Eyz Championship BBQ Rub (or substitute your favorite BBQ rub)

2- 12 oz cans of beer (maybe more)


For this recipe, you will need a covered roasting pan like you might use to roast a turkey. Make sure the pan includes a rack that stands at least ¾ of an inch from the bottom. Pre-heat oven to 350. Rinse the rack and then pad dry. Peel the membrane from the underside of the rack.

Generously coat both sides of the rack with 3 Eyz BBQ rub, let the rack stand for 15-20 minutes to allow the rub to moisten. Place the rack into the pan, open the first can of beer. Pour in enough beer to get to the bottom of the rack without going over it. If you do not use the entire can, reserve the remaining liquid for later consumption. Begin to consume beer.

Place the ribs onto the rack meat side up. If the rack is too long for your pan, cut in half then overlap the mid sections so the ribs will lay fairly flat on the rack. Cover pan, then roast in oven for about 2 hours.

After 1.5 hours, begin to check the rack for doneness. Open 2nd beer can and begin to consume. (have a 3rd or 4th on standby if needed) This is best done with a toothpick. Insert the toothpick into the meat between the bones somewhere near the center of the rack. At 1.5 hours, the pick should encounter some resistance.

Check every 15 minutes until the pick slides into the meat without any resistance. The proper feel can only be developed from experience.(Meaning, you’ll have to cook more ribs!) You want the meat to be tender, but not falling off the bone. Ideally, the meat will pull away from the bone with slight resistance. When finished, remove ribs from roasting pan.

At this point, they can be wrapped in foil, held in a warm oven until you are ready to serve or frozen. (for freezing method, see below) When you are ready to serve, remove ribs from foil then transfer to a low-medium heat grill. Place on the grill meat side down over direct heat while you apply your sauce to the underside of the rack. You want the meat side to crisp just a bit, but be careful not to let it burn. If it gets too hot, just move off the direct heat.

Once the sauce sets on the underside, (sauce is set when it begins to loose a little moisture and gets slightly sticky), flip the rack to meat side up, coat with sauce, then allow the top to set. (Approximately 10 minutes per side) When the sauce is set, remove the rack, cut and serve. Cut into 3-4 rib serving portions or into individual ribs for use as appetizers. Freezing tips: After the oven step is complete, allow ribs to cool. Wrap first in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Pour liquid from bottom of pan into a plastic container for freezing. Freeze juice and ribs.

A day before you are planning to serve, remove both from freezer and allow to thaw in refrigerator. Unwrap then place ribs with the reserved juice into a covered pan and warm gently either in the oven or on the stove or grill top. When completely warm, transfer ribs to grill and follow grilling steps shown above.

Additional tips: BBQ sauce right out of the bottle is a little too thick for my taste and I feel coats the meat way too much. Sauce can be thinned in small portions with the addition of apple juice, orange juice, beer, water or melted butter. Use tongs and or a spatula to move and turn your ribs, a fork punctures the meat and allows for valuable flavor to escape. The toothpick method to test for doneness is all about feel. The best way to know what you are looking for is to check a few times even earlier than outlined above. That way, the closer you get to being done, you will be able to feel how the resistance is changing. It should get easier as the meat breaks down during the cooking process. The 2 hour time outlined above is merely a guideline. It is dependent on the heat of your oven at home as well as the thickness and muscle content of the individual rack you are cooking. The above cooking method can be applied to spare ribs as well.

I would advise, however, that if cooking spares, you have your butcher trim the rack ‘St Louis Style” before cooking. Once trimmed to this size, just proceed as above, again, using the toothpick to determine doneness.

Make sure your finishing grill fire is not too hot and you have a safe place to move to on the grill should the fire get too warm. You do not want to burn the ribs or your hands! Do not pass this rib secret recipe on to anyone you know. When asked how you did it, you can launch into a long winded story about anything, remember, you have consumed many beers while the process moved forward, they are not going to believe you no matter what you say! (leave empty cans laying around for extra effect)

Maureen Harvie is Senior Supervising Producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.