Back in July, I posted a recipe for my quick-grilling weeknight ribs. Consider these my Labor Day Weekend ribs. I don’t care for ribs that are over-sauced, so with this recipe I’ve made a super flavorful reduction out of the cooking liquid. While these baby backs do take longer to cook, you can make them entirely in advance. Bake the ribs and make the sauce, then wrap the ribs, once cooled, completely in foil. Transfer the reduced balsamic sauce to an airtight container. Both the ribs and sauce will last in the refrigerator up to three days. Remove ribs from refrigerator one hour before grilling. Perfect for a barbecue and outdoor eating, these ribs are delicious hot or warm. I like to serve them with a quick, no-cook Raw Summer Squash Salad with Fresh Mozzarella.
Balsamic Baby Back Ribs
2 racks baby back ribs, about 4 to 5 pounds, total
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 medium red onions, chopped, about 2 cups
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place ribs in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan or ovenproof dish deep enough to hold both racks. Sprinkle ribs all over with 4 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Combine garlic, onion, olive oil, 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 cup water in a medium bowl. Pour over the ribs, meaty side up, making sure some of the onions get underneath the rib bones. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Cook ribs on the middle oven rack for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Check ribs at 1 hour, adding another cup of water if the roasting pan looks dry and the onions are starting to brown. Remove ribs from oven after baking and set aside on a baking sheet.
Preheat a gas grill to medium or prepare a charcoal grill for indirect cooking.
If there are any brown bits or onions stuck to the pan, pour in 1/4 cup of water and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom and stir the liquid. Pour everything from the roasting pan into a medium saucepan. With a 1/4 measuring cup, skim off the pooling fat, removing as much as you can. Add 1/3 cup vinegar and sugar to saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until thick and syrupy, stirring frequently, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Spoon the reduced balsamic sauce over the top, meaty part of the ribs. Sear ribs until they just begin to char, about 2 to 5 minutes per side.
Once cooked, allow ribs to rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Cut ribs and serve.
If it’s a rainy night, place ribs under a preheated broiler on a half-sheet pan lined with foil for 2 to 5 minutes until the ribs are slightly charred and the balsamic sauce is bubbly. Every broiler is different so don’t walk away while it cooks! Large, professional ovens can finish these ribs in a minute while my 24-inch oven’s broiler drawer can take closer to 10.
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