In honor of the Olympics, we’ll be sharing the keys to one of our gold-medal worthy recipes every weekday until the closing ceremonies on August 12th.
The barbecue season for much of the country is cruelly short. And even in the summer, the weather doesn’t always cooperate on the days you’re craving crisp-crusted, smoky spareribs. But most indoor-barbecued rib recipes are dubious. They either smother racks in smoke-flavored sauce and bake them slowly, or smear on a liquid-smoke-dribbled spice rub just before baking. What those recipes don’t acknowledge is the fundamental difference between ribs that taste of smoke and ribs that are smoked.
WHAT MAKES THIS RECIPE A WINNER
- We constructed an impromptu indoor smoker from everyday kitchen tools, creating the perfect smoking environment with the combination of a pizza stone, a wire rack, a rimmed baking sheet, and some aluminum foil.
- Instead of using wood chips, which required too high an oven heat to work indoors, we took a cue from Chinese cooks and smoked our ribs over ground-up tea leaves. Neither as sweet as hickory nor as sharp as mesquite, the tea perfumed the ribs with a rich smokiness far deeper than that lent by barbecue sauce or liquid smoke.
- To prevent our ribs from toughening up in the hot oven, we chilled them in the freezer while the oven preheated. This cooled them enough that they could withstand a very high heat and quickly absorb the smoke without toughening.
- The moister the heat, the faster the heat transfer, so we added some apple juice to the pan as the ribs cooked. It added sweet depth and sped up the cooking time.
Want to try it out for yourself? Here’s our recipe for Oven-Barbecued Ribs for free until August 15.