Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Two-Parter Apricot Glazed Baby Back Ribs

It's time for some meat, y'all! Enough of my waxing and waning about the New Year. It's a barbecue blog dammit so today I've smoked up some baby backs.

What is different or interesting about these ribs? Why post about them, as opposed to others? In every post I try to use a recipe to teach a technique. It's what I do in the book, so it is what I continue to do here on the blog.

These ribs were smoked with a dry rub the day before. I pulled them to chill in the fridge when they were technically cooked, but needed another hour plus to tender up.

The next day, I put them back on the smoker, indirect heat, for 30-40 minutes, then glazed them once hot and left them for another 40 minutes or so.

This is a great way to prep ribs for a party, or to have ribs on hand for a weekday dinner. Smoke them on the weekend while you are doing house projects, chill, then reheat and add sauce for dinner on Tuesday. I actually think the spice and smoke sink in to the meat better this way.

The rub: Use any simple spice rub you have on hand. I grabbed kosher salt, cumin, chili powder, and a small amount of paprika and tossed my racks in them. Last month I reviewed Charbroil's Basic Rub, and liked it for it's simplicity. If you are going for "wet" or glazed ribs, the rub doesn't need to stand alone, and you don't need a lot of competing flavors with the sauce.

The meat: I used baby back ribs, but spares really do well with this technique. When making ribs for a party, you can easily misjudge how long spare ribs need, and have the rest of the food timing thrown off. By smoking them a day ahead, you have more control of the end time.

I'll be honest...I didn't take off the membrane. I usually do, but the first one was so thin, it kept tearing. I was in a rush to get them in the rub and to make it on time for pick up at my son's pre-school. Know what? It didn't matter.

The equipment: I used my Big Green Egg! She's a beaut, especially on these rainy, colder months. Eggatha keeps her heat like a champ. I only smoked two racks, so no other equipment (rib rack, indirect plate, drip pan) was needed. I made a small charcoal fire in one spot, and place my racks indirect from the fire.

The wood: Cherry wood trimmings from my yard, of course.

The glaze: Now here is where you really can mix it up. I use 50% preserves with 50% barbecue sauce, store bought, or home spun. Heat it up and whisk together. The owner of Ole Ray's Apple Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce sent me a case of his sauce once after he read that I recommended it in Woman's World Magazine. It was a sweet gesture, but I get so many bottles of sauce here and there, my fridge has little else. I wanted to move some of the product, so I used it in my glaze. His sauce is a sweeter, molasses-y sauce that works well in a glaze.

The result: Tender, flavorful ribs...by 6pm on a Tuesday.


  1. Those look amazing! I wish we would have gotten to try some of your ribs when we were up in Seattle this past week, but, maybe next trip we can give you a heads up and maybe do some video work together.

    I have used the Char-Broil All-Purpose Rub on some beef ribs cut straight from a rib roast before and they were super tastey! I didnt even need any sauce. I usually like to use all kinds of seasonings and mix and match for different flavors, it was the first time I used JUST CB Rub and it turned out great! I think it's the anise that makes it an interesting taste.

    Thanks for the post Julie! I am going to try the smoke and chill technique. It may allow me to have more ribs in my life! Everyone needs ribs in their life!

  2. Thanks, Michael, and great to see you at Pete's! So sorry we got too busy to talk.

    And yes, yes, everyone needs more ribs in their life!

  3. Julie,

    I will have to try this approach since my wife is continually committing me to cook for large horse barn parties throughout the year. I might actually be able to enjoy one now. I also want to try the apricot glaze on my next round of ribs.

    I was never a big fan of apricots until I found a spicy apricot marinade for wings. My friends and I really liked it and, in fact, it's my go to wing recipe these days.

    If you're interested, you can find one variation of it here


    I would love to hear your thoughts on it if you ever have a chance to try it.

  4. Thank you, Mike! I will definitely check out your recipe. I'm a big fan of fruit in glazes. I love the contrast between the sweet, spicy and smoke. I hope the two-parter approach makes your next shindig more relaxing!