Brown Sugar Rubbed Pork Ribs…Pork: A Love Affair

I was raised to believe ribs should not have a sauce. Really good ribs, as in really really good ribs, do not need a sauce to make them taste better. In my house if you covered your ribs with sauce it was because the ribs were not well-seasoned and needed the sauce to provide depth and flavor. I was led to believe this dry rib requirement was due to our Texas-ness, now I know it was more likely my parents’ preferences, ha!…but I digress. In my opinion, ribs should be cooked in the oven and then finished on the grill. However, we all don’t have the luxury of living where it doesn’t rain and a grill is available at all times, BUT I don’t think that should prevent anyone from enjoying good ribs even on rainy days.

The raw ribs on the tented foil, ready to go in the oven…notice the heavy seasoning and brown sugar, that means they are going to be delicious! 

Also, I know I know I don’t have measurements for the seasonings. I’m sorry! But its because I believe you should heavily season, and it’s hard to know exactly how much seasoning you prefer. My strategy is that I use a seasoning container and essentially blanket the meat with each seasoning powder. I know that might seem like too much seasoning, but I promise its not. Remember that since you are not adding sauce to these ribs, this delicious seasoning will have to stand on its own. Also, some of it will run off when the sugar melts. So if its heavy, that’s ok! It just means your ribs are going to be very seasoned, and very tasty.

The ribs once they come out of then oven…notice the pork juices and brown sugar have mixed together to form a fantastic juice. If you insist on making a sauce, I insist you use this sweet meaty juice to boost your flavor profile!

Brown Sugar Crusted Pork Ribs

  • 1 package Meaty pork ribs, approximately 10 meaty ribs
  •  Kosher salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • 1 c brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse the ribs. Using a sharp paring knife, completely remove the membrane from both sides of the ribs. This is important because it will ensure that the delicious seasoning sticks to the ribs and marinates the meat. Otherwise this membrane will separate all that delicious flavor from the meat, and we don’t want that at all.
  3. Now you need to make a large piece of foil created from two smaller foil pieces. I know that sounds a little complicated, but I promise it’s super easy. Using two large pieces of foil that are both the length of the ribs, lay the foil pieces on top of each other and using the longer end, tightly fold them over. Fold the edge over an additional two times. This extra wide piece of foil will be used to completely wrap the ribs and prevent the juices and steam from leaving the meat during the cooking process. This ensures the meat cooks evenly and is extra tender. Place the piece of foil over a long cookie sheet.
  4. Once the ribs have been cleaned and rinsed, lay the ribs meaty side down in the middle of the extra-large foil piece; the foil seam should run through the middle of the ribs and perpendicular to the rib bones. Liberally season the underside of the ribs with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and pepper. Its important that you first season with salt, as this releases water from the ribs and allows the flavors to all be absorbed into the meat. Once completely seasoned, use your fingers or a spoon to gently rub the seasoning into the meat.
  5. Flip the ribs meaty side up, and repeated the seasoning process. Once the seasoning has been rubbed in, pour the brown sugar on the top of the meat, and using your fingers press the sugar into the meat. The sugar should be packed tightly in an even layer on top of the meat. Bring the two sides of the foil from around the longer sides of the meat to repeat the tenting process from step two. The foil should sit snug around the ribs but not touching the brown sugar layer. Repeat the process with both shorter sides, making sure to roll the foil up. This will ensure any steam and juices from the meat remain in the foil and does not drip in the oven. You don’t want a dirty oven at the end of all this!
  6. Bake the ribs for 3 hours. During this time, try very hard to not open the foil as you will release the steam and fragrant juices. I know the smell radiating through your house will make this request very difficult, but it will make the meal all that more delicious in the end. I promise!
  7. Remove the ribs from the foil tent and place them on a clean plate. Depending on how you are planning to serve the ribs, cut between the bones to create individual pieces. Plate and serve hot.

Note: If you have a grill available, once the ribs are finished cooking in the oven place them on the grill for about ten minutes on each side. Once the sugar coating meats the flame it will give the ribs a nice char, and delicious smoky flavor.

And You’re Ready to Eat!



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