In addition to craft beer, anyone who knows me also knows I’m a BBQ freak.

It all started in college where I spent several years working at a BBQ joint, slinging ribs, brisket and tips for a little extra beer money and the occasional free meal. I can recount many nights after the place closed up hanging out at the bar with a sloppy basket of Memphis-style pulled pork piled on top of Texas toast, and a nice cool beer to wash it down. Life was very good.

It doesn’t matter the time of year, I’m always up for grilling or smoking. But with winter clenching its especially steely cold fist around our state, it’s tough to get out on the patio and fire up the Weber. So I recently took a shot at cooking some pork spare ribs in the oven, a technique I’ve surprisingly never tried before, and the results were excellent. I whipped up a tangy mustard- and honey-based sauce to complement, adding a really nice dose of heat and sweetness. As I’m wont to do, I also paired the meal with a nice pint of Stone Arrogant Bastard, procured from Casanova’s in Hudson, with the bitter yet malty beer equaling the aggressive tone of the rib’s tang and spice.

Here’s the recipe I went with:

Sauce
10 oz. honey
10 oz. dijon mustard
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Bring combined ingredients to a slow boil, reduce heat and stir to ensure mustard dissolves. Simmer for 15 minutes, and let cool. Sauce will thicken after about 30 minutes and is ready to use.

Pork Spare Ribs
Preheat your oven broiler and start removing the membrane from the back of your ribs (I went with three slabs). If you don’t know how to do this, I’ve found using a paper towel to get a good grip on the thin, slippery membrane makes it easy to pull off in one fell swoop, like ripping off a big Band-Aid.

Generously coat the ribs with a dry rub, any type will do. I’ve made plenty of traditional rubs in the past, but to keep it easy I simply used Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, you can find it most anywhere.

Once seasoned, place on a large cooking sheet and pop in the oven. Using the broiler, sear the tops of the ribs, maybe 2-3 minutes, until you start to see them darken up just a bit.

Turn off the broiler, and switch your oven to bake at 300 degrees. Cook the ribs for about three hours, or fork tender. You’ll start to see the meat pulling away from the bone as it slowly cooks.

After three hours, pull the ribs out of the oven. Slide a shallow pan of either water or red wine (or both) under the ribs, and wrap the whole production in foil. This will help make the ribs even moister, giving you that authentic “fall off the bone” presentation. 

Put the foiled ribs back in the oven for another 90 minutes at 300 degrees. After an hour and a half, remove from oven, open foil, and top with the sauce. Use the broiler one last time, only a minute or so, to help the sauce stick to the ribs and achieve a nice glaze.

That’s all there is to it. It’s really easy, and a great afternoon cooking project that’ll make you contemplate opening up your own rib joint.

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