Wednesday, August 26, 2009

perfect fall-off-the-bone ribs are a favourite birthday treat - recipe: fall-off-the-bone ribs

I celebrated my birthday last week. In my family, it’s tradition for my mother to prepare our choice of dinner for our b-day get-togethers. It’s always a tough decision – Mom is a great cook and I have so many favourites! This year, I decided on her fall-off-the-bone pork back ribs.

These ribs are effortless and delicious. Many people boil their ribs to ensure tenderness, but the method of cooking them “slow and low” in an oven really does work. It’s easy – all you have to do is cover the ribs with thin slices of lemon, set them on a roasting rack in a roasting pan (with the lid on) and cook them slow (over a long period of time) and low (in a low temperature oven). About twenty minutes before serving, brush the ribs with bbq sauce, turn up the heat and bake them uncovered for a few more minutes.

Our family friend, Helen Howatson, gets the credit for this recipe/method. These delicious, ridiculously easy to prepare ribs have been a hit with everyone I’ve ever served them to. In fact, this was one of the first meals that I made from my husband, David, when we were both living in Toronto. His apartment kitchen was absurdly tiny – I’m not exaggerating when I say that there was about sixteen inches of counter space – not a lot prep room! So, these ribs were the perfect choice, all I had to do was bring over my own roasting pan.

David was impressed – he had no idea how easy they were to make and was amazed that I could create something so delicious in his minuscule kitchen! I served them with regular baked potatoes, but Mom prefers to serve baked sweet potatoes with crumbled goat cheese. I highly recommend this combo – the tangy, creamy goat cheese pairs wonderfully with the sugary sweet potato.

Back Ribs (serves about 4)


  • two racks pork BACK (not side) ribs
  • two lemons, thinly sliced
  • your favourite bbq sauce


  • Preheat oven to 300 F.
  • Place ribs on roasting rack in large roasting pan. Pour about one cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan (water should not touch ribs). Cover entire surface of ribs with thin slices of lemon. Cover roasting pan with tight fitting lid (or use tinfoil if you don’t have a lid or if the lid isn’t tight fitting).
  • Cook ribs in oven for 4 – 6 hours or until very tender. Remove ribs from oven and remove lemon slices. Turn oven up to 375 F. Brush ribs with your desired amount of bbq sauce.
  • Put ribs back into the (375 F) oven, uncovered for about 15-25 minutes or until hot. Alternatively, brush with bbq sauce and grill on the bbq.

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