Barbeque is definitely an art and science, and there are people who have dedicated their culinary careers to perfecting it, but one technique we learned from Sarah’s mom for perfect, fall-off-the-bone ribs every time is to start them on the grill and finish them in the oven.
By far the best ribs we’ve found in San Francisco are from Olivier’s Butchery in the Dogpatch. We don’t get ribs often, but the ones we’ve gotten here have been simply amazing. Oliver’s has a great selection of pre-marinated ribs, but we also like to season our own.
To flavor our ribs, we use a combination of a rub and barbecue sauce. We’ve gone through several rub recipes, but found that it’s easiest to find a premade one you like. We started with the homemade rub in this book from Thomas Keller. It’s great, and we highly recommend the book for really delicious recipes that are easy to make at home. Recently we’ve been buying our rub from S&S Brand. Everything we’ve tried from them has been impressive. We’ve also had good experience with this brand.
For the best ribs, you’ll want to let them sit in the rub for a while. Ideally, we would give the racks of ribs a quick drizzle of canola oil (we typically use this one), coat them thinly but evenly on all sides with rub, wrap them tightly in wide plastic wrap and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight. If you don’t have time to do that, let them sit as long as possible.
To make your ribs, heat a grill to medium heat–in the range of 350 – 450 degrees. Put the ribs on the grill over direct heat and cook for 5-7 minutes per side, until they begin to get a little blackened. Watch them carefully. They should release from the grill easily when ready to turn, but not be too charred. After both sides have perfect grill marks, move them away from the fire, and cook over indirect heat for 25-30 minutes (if your grill has a thermometer, control the heat to keep it between 300 – 350 degrees).
At this point, we would typically take the ribs off the grill and put them on a sheet pan wrapped in foil in the oven, however, for the ribs pictured we used our Staub cocotte (c/o). We were honestly amazed with the results. We put the ribs in the cocotte and let them cook in the oven for 3 hours at 275 degrees. When we pulled them out of the oven, meat was literally falling off the bone. We cut the ribs into individual pieces, tossed them in our favorite spicy barbecue sauce, and returned them to the pan in the oven to stay warm.
- 1 rack of baby back ribs
- BBQ Seasoning/rub
- 1 jar BBQ Sauce (our favorite)
- Canola oil
- Coat ribs with a thin layer of canola oil to help the seasoning stick to the ribs. Sprinkle the ribs with rub to coat evenly, and wrap tightly with extra wide plastic wrap. Let the ribs sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- Heat a grill to medium heat and put the ribs on the grill over direct heat. Cook 5-7 minutes on both sides, ensuring that they do not get too blackened.
- Move the ribs to indirect heat and continue to cook for 25-30 minutes, until the meat just begins to pull away from the bones.
- Take the ribs off the grill and place in a dutch oven or sheet pan covered tightly with foil. Bake in a 275 degree oven for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, remove the ribs from the pan and cut into individual sections. Toss to coat with barbecue sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.