BBQ is a way of life. Some people believe that the secret to good BBQ is the rub. Others say it’s the way you prepare it, either with a smoker and the wood you use or on a grill. And of course, there’s the BBQ sauce. Everyone seems to have a different, family-favorite recipe. The only way you’ll figure out what recipe is your favorite is by trying as many as possible. This is a great base recipe to work with.
Living in an apartment leaves us lacking in space and BBQ equipment but just like my perfect pulled pork recipe, you don’t need a smoker or grill to make delicious, fall off the bone ribs at home. The steps are relatively simple. You rub your ribs with tender loving care, allow those flavors to meld, then slowly cook everything to perfect tenderness.
Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Brush both sides of the racks with oil and rub with the spice mixture. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
For the Mop:
In a large pot over low heat, add all the mop ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
For the Ribs:
Remove the ribs from the refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking to allow them to come to room temperature. Heat your oven to 225 degrees F. Put the ribs on a raised rack and cook for 6 hours, brushing the ribs with the mop every hour for the first 5 hours. During the last hour, brush the ribs with the North Carolina Barbecue Sauce every 10 minutes. The ribs are cooked when the meat reaches a temperature of 180 to 190 degrees F. Remove the ribs to a serving platter and serve.
For the BBQ Sauce:
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes.
Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator, stored in a tightly sealed container.