Best Barbecued Ribs


Soon recipes revolving around my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share will likely dominate this site for the remainder of the summer, but before that happens I’ll share one more recipe for the carnivores in my life-Best Barbecued Ribs.

When I first started dating my husband he owned two cookbooks The Joy of Cooking and Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Two-Menus and Recipes for Every Occasion.  Not bad for a guy in the early 80’s.   Maybe this is what let me know that like this recipe he was a keeper!   In any case the recipe  for Best Barbecued Ribs from the section in the Better Homes and Gardens volume titled Remembered Recipes has been in our repertoire for years.  I pre-cook the ribs and make the sauce and he does the grilling.   In my opinion they have just the right blend of tart, sweet and spiciness to make them literally finger licking good.  The only thing I’ve done over the years is to add a touch of chipotle in adobo to kick them up just a bit.  Soon, I may start adding a bit of smoked salt to the brine or the sauce or directly on the ribs before grilling to make up for the fact I’m cooking on a gas grill.

I was so pleased to see that in the May 2013 issue of Cook’s Illustrated the method of preparing the ribs by pre-cooking them in a simmering brine was validated.  I’ve tried a few other methods over the years when  pre-cooking in brine was maligned for reducing the meaty flavor but I always ended up with tough, dry ribs.   As indicated by Cook’s and evidently known by Better Homes and Gardens cooks in 1968, gently simmering the ribs in a brine allows the collagen in the ribs to break down and results in tender, flavorful ribs that only need another few minutes on the grill to give them a bit of a char and some caramelization to the sauce.  Okay, so the cook times in the original Better Homes and Gardens recipe were a bit longer, but that was in the era when we still worried about trichinosis!

For those of you who are big city dwellers with no grill, have no fear!  My mother makes this recipe often using the baking method and loves them-it’s all about the sauce.

It starts with some nice meaty ribs and a few ingredients that are most likely in your pantry.  The Chili Sauce is usually the only ingredient that I have to buy.


Cut the ribs into pieces that will easily fit in a large stock pot or Dutch oven.  Simmer in salted water until tender.  The amount of time will vary depending on the type of ribs you have chosen.


While the ribs are simmering make the sauce.  Note that the onion should be a fine dice and remember to remove all of the seeds from the lemon slices. 

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All of the ingredients go into the sauce pan together.


An easy trick to getting all of the chili sauce out of the bottle is to rinse with the Worcestershire sauce.

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Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes


After the sauce is done.  Remove the lemon slices-this is especially important if you are making the sauce ahead and refrigerating.  Once I left them in and the sauce became quite bitter.  Don’t toss them though, they still have a role to play.


Pre-heat your grill to medium-high and put the ribs on with the bony side up.  Top with the reserved lemon slices-they have a lot of good sauce on them and this is the best way to use it.


Grill for approximately 4 to 5 minutes on this side with the lid down to give the meaty side a nice crust.


Remove the lemon slices, flip the ribs and brush liberally with sauce. And grill with the lid down for another 4 to 5 minutes or until the ribs are hot and the sauce is slightly caramelized.


Transfer to a cutting board and cut between the ribs into serving pieces-be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.  Serve with the extra sauce on the side-my husband says it’s so good you could drink it.


My favorite sides -Aunt Mary’s (Grandma Alice’s) Potato Salad or Cole slaw and of course a glass of red wine!




Best Barbecued Ribs

by: M.B. Einerson

Barely adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Two

1968 First Edition Sixth Printing 1972 

I don’t believe we ever made the two serving version of this recipe, the leftovers are nearly as good as fresh.  In the early days we doubled the original sauce recipe to make one rack of ribs (usually between 3 and 4 lbs) which is enough to feed 4 people easily.  In later years I scaled it up to use exactly one 12 oz. bottle of chili sauce. Any leftover sauce can be frozen for the next round of ribs.  If you want to make a smaller batch you will find my 2x of the original recipe below.  This will be enough for one rack of ribs with some extra sauce for serving at the table.

Servings: 4 with extra sauce for the freezer

  • 2 to 4 lb. ribs – We’ve done spareribs, baby back ribs and Kansas City style ribs-baby backs and Kansas City style are my favorite.
  • 2 cups catsup
  • 1 cup chili sauce (one 12 oz. bottle)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • ⅓ cup prepared mustard
  • ½ cup butter
  • 8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce ( 2 Tbs. + 2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt, ¼ tsp. garlic powder or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 16 thin lemon slices ( two lemons)- don’t forget to remove all the seeds
  • Chipotle in adobo sauce to taste

Cut ribs into pieces that will fit easily in a large stock pot or Dutch oven.  Simmer in salted water (approx. 1 tsp. of Kosher salt per quart of water is fine) until tender.  This will take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes for baby back ribs to 30 to 45 minutes for spareribs.  This can be done a day ahead.  Remove from water and go directly to the grill or oven* (I’ve personally never baked them, but someday I’ll give it a try) or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

In a medium size saucepan add all remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.   Remove from heat and remove lemon slices.  Reserve the lemon slices for use during grilling.

Grill hot ribs over medium to low heat until browned on both sides (for us this is usually 4 minutes per side –but it will depend on your grill, the outside temp. etc.).  Brush with sauce during the last few minutes of grilling-otherwise the sauce will burn.

* Place hot ribs in a shallow roasting pan and cover with sauce.  Bake in 350° oven for 20 to 25 minutes, basting with sauce occasionally.  If ribs have been refrigerated, allow them to come to room temperature before baking.


Best Barbecued Rib Sauce- Small Batch

by: M.B. Einerson

Barely adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Two

1968 First Edition Sixth Printing 1972 

  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • ¼ cup chili sauce
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs.finely diced onion
  • 4 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ garlic salt,  116 tsp. garlic powder or 1 small clove minced fresh garlic
  • 4 thin lemon slices- don’t forget to remove all the seeds
  • Chipotle in adobo sauce to taste 

In a small saucepan add all remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.   Remove from heat and remove lemon slices.  Reserve the lemon slices for use during grilling.









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