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BBQ Recipe: Smoky Barbecue Ribs

Smoky barbecued ribs on a table with cole slaw and baked beansOutdoor cooking is a very popular pastime. It unites friends and family with delicious food and conversation and is the perfect way to spend your summers. And there is no better way to kick off the summer BBQ season than the fact that May is National Barbecue Month!

Barbecue doesn’t necessarily mean the sauce, it means firing up the grill for some deliciously cooked meats and vegetables. But if you ask me, you can slather barbecue sauce on every grilled meat and I will love it. It probably is also why I devoted an entire summer vacation one year to a BBQ tour of Kansas City any another vacation to a BBQ tour of Memphis. It really is one of my favorite things to eat.

When I’m cooking barbecue at home, my go-to recipe is Smokey Barbecue Ribs slathered with my homemade sauce. I think that cooking the ribs at a low temperature for a long amount of time creates a fall-off-the-bone meat situation and the spicy sweet sauce is the perfect finish. These are also great because you can roast the ribs ahead of a party and finish them off on the grill when your guests arrive.

These barbecue ribs pair perfectly with pit beans, coleslaw and grilled corn on the cob. More importantly is my beverage of choice when it comes to BBQ: Lambrusco! Pairing Riunite Lambrusco with these smoky ribs give a light, refreshing finish to your meal. The fruity, soft taste of the wine perfectly complements the spicy flavors of the ribs. Seriously, wine and ribs go together very well.

So here’s my recommendation: Memorial Day is quickly approaching. Gather your best friends and family together and make them these ribs. The weather will be lovely, the conversation will be delightful and the barbecue will be amazing. And don’t forget the wine!

Smoky Barbecue Ribs

Barbecued ribs on a plate next to a bottle of Riunite Lambrusco Italian red wineTotal time: 4 ½ hours
Serves: 4

2 racks pork baby back ribs
3 tablespoons liquid smoke
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
4 ounces water
1/4 teaspoon onion powder


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Rinse the ribs and cut the racks in half. Season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper and rub gently into the meat. Place the ribs in 1-2 13×9 cooking pans, making sure not to overlap the ribs. Fill the bottom of the pan with ½ inch of water. Put the liquid smoke into the water. (If using 2 pans for the ribs, put 3 tablespoons of liquid smoke into each pan)

Cover the pan(s) tightly with plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook for 4 hours.

While the ribs are cooking, mix together all ingredients for the sauce. If you want a spicier sauce, increase the amount of cayenne pepper and chili powder to your liking. Allow the sauce to sit out while the ribs bake.

Remove the ribs from the oven and uncover. Allow the ribs to cool for 30-40 minutes before grilling.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the ribs onto the grill and spread sauce on both sides of the ribs. Grill for 5-10 minutes on each side, until the sauce becomes thick and slightly charred. Serve immediately with additional sauce.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Riunite Lambrusco, Albinea Canali “Ottocentonero”, Albinea Canali “FB”, Bell’Agio Rosso Dolce, Pacific Rim Riesling

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