When Damon's Restaurant left our area, I had to re-create their delectable, sweet, hickory-flavored ribs because we all loved them so much. These tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth ribs live up to their name and are my family's #1 favorite. Although this recipe takes a while to prepare, the steps are easy, and the results are well-worth the trouble. The sauce recipe came from my cookbook, "True Southern Family Recipes". It can be prepared ahead and refrigerated indefinitely.
- 3 lbs baby back ribs (pork)
- 1⁄4 cup molasses
- 1 cup ketchup
- 6 tablespoons vinegar
- 3⁄4 cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt) or 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Make one recipe of Rib Sauce (above) and set aside.
- Pre-cook ribs by EITHER Baking (preferred method) OR Parboiling.
- MAKE-AHEAD TIP: After pre-cooking (baking or parboiling) ribs, they may be vacuum sealed and frozen for up to 3 months OR glazed with Rib Sauce and refrigerated or given their final baking immediately.
- ** BAKING RIBS (preferred method): Cut rack of ribs in half. Place 1 1/2 pounds ribs in each of two 9x13-inch casserole dishes.
- Add 1/4 cup vinegar to each casserole. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Drain all liquid.
- ** PAR-BOILING RIBS: Cut rack of ribs in half. Fill large pot with water; heat to boiling. Add all ribs to boiling water (should be enough to just cover top of ribs).
- Simmer ribs about 45 minutes until just tender but meat is not falling off the bones. Remove ribs from boiling water. Rinse and drain.
- **** RIBS (Final Baking): Cut ribs in sections. In two 9x13-inch glass casserole, place ribs in SINGLE layer in casserole.
- Pour about 1/3 of Rib Sauce over one dish of ribs to glaze them.
- Repeat with second half of ribs, using another 1/3 of sauce or enough of the remaining sauce to glaze all the ribs.
- MAKE-AHEAD TIP: At this point you can cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
- If frozen, thaw before baking.
- Place UNCOVERED ribs in preheated 350 degree oven.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes until most of sauce has been absorbed by the ribs and meat is "melt-in-your-mouth" tender.
- If you have any remaining sauce, serve it with the ribs, along with plenty of napkins.
- These are finger-licking good and messy to eat-- but is there any other way to eat ribs?.
- *** RIB SAUCE: Mix cornstarch and water together to make a slurry Set aside.
- Mix remaining dry ingredients together.
- Place in saucepan.
- Mix remaining wet ingredients together.
- Pour half of wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring to mix well.
- Add remaining half of wet ingredients, stir to mix well, and simmer mixture, uncovered, for about 10-20 minutes to thicken sauce a bit.
- While mixture is gently boiling, pour in slurry while stirring.
- Return mixture to a slow boil and cook until sauce thickens a little.
- Sauce should be thick enough to cling to ribs, yet pourable.
- Cool sauce and store in air-tight glass or plastic container.
- Refrigerated it keeps indefinitely.