Though I’m very vocal about not being a Hamptons person, my friend Kate manages to drag me off my high horse (bound for the vineyard) a few times a summer. I always have fun at her share house, which gets progressively nicer over the years as the ratio of 24-year-olds to beds decreases. This past summer, there were no 24 year olds at all. So that was a plus.
Back in the old days though, cooking at the share house was a bit of a nightmare. There is an infamous story of one particular 24-year-old almost burning down the house by trying to make a grilled cheese directly on the electric stove burner. She clearly did not realize that the house was not outfitted with an industrial sized George Forman cooktop and that perhaps a pan was required. But despite these dire scenes, one culinary miracle managed to rise from the ashes of Kate’s share house kitchen (one that did not smell like burnt Velveeta). And that my friends, is this BBQ ribs recipe.
My friend Graeme’s mother invented the glaze, and the magical flavors that emerge are predicated on using really shitty store bought BBQ sauce as the base. I’ve since tried making it with something more upscale and she’s right, it just muddles the nuance of the finished product. My high horse has since been turned out to pasture.
The rest of the equation is simple, which makes it perfect to have in your back pocket for a backyard share house BBQ. Puree the shitty sauce with a whole head of peeled garlic, one whole jalapeno, and a bunch of cilantro. And there you have it.
I’ve used Graeme’s BBQ sauce on all sorts of things – burgers, chicken, pork – but my favorite execution will always be the way I first tasted it, slathered all over a rack of baby back ribs that slowly melt away in the oven. I made them a few Labor Day weekends ago when I had friends out to my preferred bougie beach vacation spot and was told that they were the best ribs anyone had ever eaten.
When Charlie and I were putting together the menu for our Southern New Year’s party, I knew that the BBQ ribs had to make the list. They disappeared very quickly, much to everyone’s dismay. But the next day I realized that Charlie had hoarded a secret stash in the fridge for New Year’s Day brunch. Which is a pretty good indication of their addictiveness.
If you’re looking for a Super Bowl treat to please all the guests at your football party, no matter what the ratio of 24-year-olds to couch cushions, I’d highly recommend picking up a bottle of bad BBQ sauce and giving these ribs a whirl.
- 18 ounces generic BBQ sauce (I like Stubbs)
- 1 bunch cilantro, thick stems removed
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled
- 1 large jalapeno
- 1 rack baby back ribs (a dozen ribs)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- In a small food processor, puree the BBQ sauce with the cilantro, garlic cloves, and jalapeno until smooth.
- Arrange the ribs on the baking sheet and slather with half the BBQ sauce. Make sure you get it in every nook and cranny. Lay the ribs bone-side down and cover tightly with foil. Bake in the middle of oven for 2 hours, until the ribs are tender but not completely falling off the bone. Remove the foil and glaze the ribs with another coat of BBQ sauce. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake the ribs until deeply browned and crusty, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove to a cutting board.
- Once cool enough to touch, slice the ribs into individual pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature alongside the remaining BBQ sauce.