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Recipe: Twice Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Bad Boys Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

Say that five times, fast…

Ex-wife number two made some of the best barbecued ribs I’ve ever had. Sure, the grill is typically a guy-thing but if you knew ex number two, you’d understand why she was so comfortable gallivanting in what would be typically known as a “man’s domain.” Nevertheless, I was always happy to defer to her skill since I had never actually done it myself. I was, after all, a rib-virgin.

But I wanted some. Because no backyard barbecue is complete without fresh-off-the-grill baby back ribs. Seriously, you can have the greatest cut of Texas Longhorn steak, or the most succulent lobster, or the giant-est of prawns. But nothing spells barbecue like them ribs. They’re the ‘Harley Davidson‘ of the grill-fest. Iconic and just plain bad-ass. Damn…

So off I went in search of a good recipe. And this is where I quite happily discovered something… it’s really hard to screw it up. With ribs you can play around with your favorite spices and almost never get it wrong. It’s all about what you like. With that in mind, I concocted a stone-ground-mustard and a dry-rub mix that’s sure to frolic on the tongue and make the taste buds all giddy with excitement. Feel free to use this yourself. Or… change it up to suit your taste. Really, we encourage this stuff.

Karl’s Twice Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

What you’ll need

  • A large cutting board
  • Basting brush (I use a new, clean paint brush available at any hardware store)
  • A dry mixing bowl
  • A small food processor (optional)
  • Aluminum foil


  • 1 or 2 full slabs pork Baby Back Ribs (Or more if you’re really hungry)
  • 4 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • A pinch of ground coriander
  • A pinch of oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme


Set the mustard aside and start by combining all the spices into a dry mixing bowl. Or, if you have one, a small food processor will blend all your spices, and break up the brown sugar really well. But you don’t really need any fancy equipment, just use a fork and make sure it’s all thoroughly blended.

When you’re ready to start, take your slab of ribs and lightly coat them, meat-side, with the mustard. This will provide a nice base for all those yummy spices. Take about half the spice rub and sprinkle it evenly on the meat-side of the ribs (you’ll use the rest later). Then using your fingers (please wash your hands first) press it into the mustard. The most important part here is to make sure the mixture is spread and pressed evenly on the meat-side of the ribs. Wrap them tightly in aluminum foil.

Your barbecue should be about 200 to 225 degrees before cooking. So allow yourself some time to get that going. You’re going to be cooking the ribs over indirect heat so make sure only one side of the barbecue has the heat going. The ribs, then, will sit on the other side. Slow cooking and absorbing all those incredible flavors.

Place the foil-wrapped ribs on the non-heated side of the grille and close it up. They’re going to be there for about two hours. So this will be a good time to have a beer…. or two… ten?

Special note: Do everything you can to avoid opening the grill. There’s nothing to see since the ribs are wrapped in foil, and all you’ll do is drastically and abruptly alter the temp of what’s going on in there. That in turn will actually INCREASE your cooking time. And why the hell would you want to do that?

At the two-hour mark, take them off the grill and out of the foil wrapping.

Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture on the meat side. Do not wrap them again. This time put them, meat side down on the grill (indirect heat side), cover and let them cook for about ten minutes. Flip them to meat side up and close it up again for another ten minutes or until the meat is tender. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce (or without), along with all your favorite barbecue trimmings and enjoy.

I am no longer a rib-virgin…

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