My mom’s family celebrates Christmas on December 23, which was my great-grandma’s birthday. The menu generally includes Oklahoma favorites such as brisket, tabouli, and my mom’s fabulous ribs. This year my mom hosted the get-together, and I so wish we could have been there. However, with about a foot and a half of snow here for the hooligans to enjoy, and having just made that 14-hour-each-way trip for Thanksgiving, it would have been a really hard sell to get them to joyfully ride that far AND miss out on the sledding here.
So I made my version of ribs, which is not very similar to my mom’s, but still delicious. Hers are baked for hours with a dry rub, whereas mine are basted with barbeque sauce. Why don’t I make hers? Because I’ve tried, and they’re never as delicious as hers are. Mine end up more like jerky on a bone, which is not a festive holiday treat!
But I’ve fed mine to many a guest, and they’ve loved them. Making them couldn’t be simpler. All you need is a rack or two of baby back ribs, some barbeque sauce (I make my own, but store-bought is great if you have a favorite), and heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Step 1: The night before serving, tear off a large piece of foil. Slather both sides of the ribs with barbeque sauce and place bone side down on foil.
Wrap tightly in foil, place in a roasting pan (that you’ll cook them in tomorrow), and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2: 4 hours before serving, preheat oven to 300 degrees and slide the pan into it. Bake for 2-1/2 hours, then pull pan out of oven an open up the foil. Brush more sauce on top and, leaving foil open, bake another 30-45 minutes, until very tender.
Cut them up into individual ribs, and serve with a extra sauce, if you’d like. In the winter, we like these with mashed potatoes and a salad on the side, but in the summer nothing is better than grilled corn on the cob and potato salad.
Here’s the barbeque sauce I make. It’s a copy of Sweet Baby Ray’s and is quite sweet, so feel free to use whatever suits your fancy!
- 1-1/2 cups ketchup
- 1-1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
- 2-1/2 Tbsp dry mustard
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 dashes hot sauce
Combine all in a medium saucepan. Stirring frequently, bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, then let cool before using. Makes about 4 cups.
These ribs make an excellent meal for busy days, as well as special occasions. You can easily slip them into the oven, then not worry about them for a few hours. They’re oh-so-comforting on a cold winter’s night, yet still a perfect meal to eat out on the deck come summer.
I hope you have a relaxing Christmas Eve, with the hustle and bustle of preparations over and free to enjoy the peace and beauty of the evening. Merry Christmas!