Recipe Review

This Smoky Indoor Ribs Recipe Is Practically Perfect

updated Jun 10, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell; Design: The Kitchn

If there’s anyone who should know how to prepare the perfect oven-baked rack of ribs, it’s Meathead Goldwyn. Goldwyn is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, a 15-year-old website reaching over one-million barbecue and grilling enthusiasts every month. He’s also the author of the New York Times‘ best seller Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, which was also named by Southern Living as one of the 100 best cookbooks of all time.

When it came time to battle off the best baked ribs recipes, I immediately added Meathead’s recipe to the mix. Would his indoor ribs be as amazing as promised? I couldn’t wait to find out.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Meathead’s Smoky Indoor Ribs

You’ll start by making Meathead’s Memphis Dust spice rub with a few small changes. The original rub is made with brown sugar, white sugar, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, ground ginger, onion powder, and rosemary powder, but the ribs recipe calls for smoked versions of the garlic, onion, salt, and paprika. None of my local grocery stores, including a specialty spice store, carried smoked garlic, onion, or salt, but I was able to purchase toasted onion powder and smoked paprika. There’s also an option to sprinkle the ribs with Prague Powder #1 to imitate a smoke ring, but since this step was purely for looks, I opted out. The dust recipe makes a large amount, so I halved the recipe and was still left with plenty for my next round of ribs.

Next, remove the membrane and trim the ribs of excess fat. Cut the ribs in half and place each in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Dilute liquid smoke with an equal amount of water, then pour half the marinade into each bag and marinate for one hour. Remove the ribs from the marinade and season with salt and the rub mixture. Wrap in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for two hours at 225°F, then remove from the foil and continue to bake for another two hours to crisp the bark. Flip the ribs meat-side down and brush with barbecue sauce (I used KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce per the recipe’s recommendation). Broil for five minutes, flip, brush the meaty side with sauce, then broil again until bubbly and caramelized.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

My Honest Review of Meathead’s Smoky Indoor Ribs Recipe

These ribs were as close to perfect as you can get in the oven. The meat was juicy and tender, pulling clean off of the bone with just the right amount of bite. And while I was initially nervous that Meathead’s recipe leaned too heavily on smoke substitutes for flavor, the pungent liquid smoke marinade mellowed significantly after four hours in the oven and melded deliciously with the pork. After the stint under the broiler, the saucy glaze was perfectly sticky and caramelized.

Despite not having all of the recommended smoked seasonings, my spice rub was well-balanced and had a good level of smoky undertones. My only qualm with this recipe is that the dry rub layer, or “bark,” didn’t firm up quite as much as promised in the last two hours of roasting.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

If You’re Making Amazing Ribs’ Smoky Indoor Ribs, a Few Tips

  1. Don’t worry if you can’t find every smoked spice. It’s unnecessary to search far and wide for the more obscure smoked seasonings, especially when the seasoning rub is paired with a liquid smoke marinade and smoky barbecue glaze.
  2. Line the baking sheet with foil. Some of the sticky sweet sauce will slide off the ribs onto the baking sheet, where it will burn. Save yourself some time at the sink and line your baking sheet with foil to catch the drips.
  3. Cut the sauce amount in half. One cup of thick barbecue sauce is too much for a rack of ribs. The rich smoke and molasses-heavy sauce will overwhelm the layers of spice and seasoning from the rub and the pork itself. Use 1/2 cup instead.
  4. Watch the ribs carefully under the broiler. Under the advice of my shrieking fire alarm, I broiled the ribs for four minutes per side, rather than five. Every broiler is different, so keep an eye on your ribs as they broil.

Rating: 9.5/10

Have you tried Amazing Ribs’ Smoky Indoor Ribs? Tell us what you thought in the comments.