Sweet ‘n’ Sticky Baby Back Ribs

Juicy, Tender and Sweetly Sticky Ribs

Baby back ribs are one of those foods that everyone loves.  Except, of course, those who do not eat pork, but I do not associate with those kinds of people.  All kidding aside, a well cooked rib is a thing of beauty.  They should be juicy and tender, yet chewy and meaty at the same time.  And to achieve that in a rib, you have to be patient.

Ribs cannot be cooked quickly, or you will end up with a dry, tough, impossible to eat piece of meat.  Something you won’t even want to give to your dog.  But cook that same rib slowly, either in a low oven or on a grill over indirect heat, and you will have such a sweet and tender morsel it can make you cry.  OK, maybe I’m the only one who cries over really good ribs…

I developed the rub specifically for pork, but I have used it on chicken, turkey, grilled vegetables and pork roasts.  It is a good all purpose BBQ rub.

Sweet ‘n’ Sticky Baby Back Ribs

Sweet ‘n’ Sticky Baby Back Ribs

2 racks baby back ribs

Smoky BBQ rub (recipe below)

The day before you plan on grilling, sprinkle the ribs with a thick coating of the rub, making sure that all surfaces are covered.  You want a nice coating of rub, as this will crisp up and form a flavorful crust.

Thick Coating of Rub on the Baby Back Ribs

Cover and refrigerate the ribs overnight so the spices can really penetrate and flavor the meat.

Grill Method

Prepare your grill for low, indirect heat.  Place the ribs on the grill, cover and cook them until tender, about 2 hours.  Check them occasionally to make sure there are no hot spots on your grill, and move them around if needed.

Oven Method

Heat your oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil, to make cleanup easier.  Slow roast the ribs for 2 hours, or until tender and the meat has pulled back from the bone.

Tender Ribs Ready to be Slathered with Sauce

Once the ribs have become tender it is time to put the sauce on.  Some have a favorite bottled sauce they use, and some insist on making their own sauce.  I do both, depending on how much time I have and/or how much energy I have.  These ribs were sauced using  a good bottled BBQ sauce, but I added 2 tablespoons of rib rub to 1 cup of bottled BBQ sauce.

Lots of Sauce on the Ribs to Make Them Sticky

Let the ribs cook for 20 – 30 minutes more, so the sauce can caramelize and thicken.  This is where the sticky comes in.

Slice the ribs and serve them with your favorite BBQ side dishes.  Do not be ashamed when you find yourself licking your fingers, and possibly the fingers of those you are dining with…

Sweet ‘n’ Sticky Baby Back Ribs

Smoky BBQ Rub

Smoky BBQ Rub


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

6 TB smoked paprika

2 TB chili powder

4 tsp  granulated garlic

4 tsp  granulated onion

4 tsp  dry mustard

2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

In a small bowl mix all the spices together.  This makes over a cup of rub, so you can use some now and save some for later.  Store the rub in an airtight container, such as a jar or resealable bag.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

Smoky and Spicy Steak Rub Recipe

Steak Rub Still Life

As you may remember I recently auditioned for Grill It! with Bobby Flay on the Food Network.  Surprisingly (NOT!!!) I received a very lovely form letter informing me that I was not chosen to appear on the show.  All I can say is…Phew!

Although I may not be Grill It! material, I know how to make a damn fine steak rub!  So instead of sharing it with America on The Food Network, I will  share it with you here on Black Girl Chef’s Whites.

Smoky and Spicy Steak Rub

½ cup kosher salt

¼ cup smoked paprika

2 TB granulated garlic

1 TB ground chipotle chile powder

1 TB ground ancho chile powder

1 TB ground cumin

1 TB dried Mexican oregano

1 TB dried thyme

In a small bowl mix all the spices and herbs together.  Store your rub in an airtight container, such as a jar or even a ziploc bag.  Makes 1 cup.

Smoky and Spicy Steak Rub and Spices

Although I made this for steak, this rub can be used on any number of things.  Try it on grilled vegetables, tofu, lamb, chicken or mixed into ground beef before forming into burgers.  If you like seafood try some on salmon, scallops or shrimp.  You can even mix some into a good quality store bought BBQ sauce to boost the flavor.

And don’t just save this for grilling season.  Bake, broil and saute with this rub to your hearts content!

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

I’m No Martha Stewart…

Need a good laugh?  Well you’ve come to the right place!  Recently I convinced myself to send in an audition tape for Grill It! with Bobby Flay on The Food Network. After shooting, editing and watching this tape over and over I have come to the conclusion that I am indeed much better behind the camera!

I had an incredibly fun time making the video, as my friend Michelle let me use her gorgeous home for the location.  She’s an interior designer, as well as a food stylist so the location was beautiful as was the food.  Another friend Robin came along and was my cinematographer and editor.  Since we have all known each other since we were 12, we laughed and ate and drank wine while prepping for my small screen debut.  Now that I’ve seen the end product, I think I probably should have had a bit more wine…

I came up with an intense and complex spice rub for steak, that I called Cheryl’s Smoky and Spicy Steak Rub.  Yeah I know, so original.  I really stretched to come up with that title.  Anyway, as instructed I posted my video on the Food Network website to be viewed, commented on, and laughed at by all of America.  Go check out my competition and rate my video yourself.

Without further ado, here is a link to my audition tape for Grill It! with Bobby Flay.

Roasted Herb Rubbed Pork Chops

Herbed Pork Chops
Herbed Pork Chops

I am truly a pork lover.  I even tried to make sure my daughter was born in the Chinese Year of the Golden Pig, but she missed it by a few days.  But since I am not Chinese I say she is!  For a baby shower gift my friends Mindy and Eric gave me a painting by Eric titled “The Improved Middle White Pig” which now hangs in her room.  And the way my toddler eats pork it obviously rubbed off on her.

As a chef I am often asked what my specialty is, and I always answer that I do not have one.  I love to cook almost everything, but I do have an affinity for making spice and herb rubs.  They can range from a few ingredients to a complex mix of  10-15 spices and herbs.  This is one of my favorite rubs for pork, but could also be used on poultry.

Herbs and Spices
Herbs and Spices

Herb Rubbed Pork Chops

2 1/2 tsp Kosher salt or 2 tsp table salt

2 tsp dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican

1 1/2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

3 TB + 1 TB extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 boneless pork loin chops, about 1 inch thick

In a small bowl mix together salt, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and 3 TB olive oil.  Place the pork chops on a large plate and pour the rub over the chops.  Make sure the entire surface of the chops is evenly covered with the rub.  Cover the chops with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. They can be left to marinate overnight if you choose.  They longer you marinate lets the flavors really penetrate the meat.

Marinating pork chops
Marinating pork chops

When ready to cook your chops preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a large ovenproof skillet heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Brown the pork chops on one side, turn over and place skillet in the oven. Roast the chops 12-15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Browning chops
Browning chops

When the pork chops are done, let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

These pork chops can also be broiled or grilled.  You can also use most cuts of pork for this, such as country style ribs, pork loin roast, pork shoulder or even spare ribs.  Just adjust the cooking style to one best suited for that cut of meat.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista