Monday, January 7, 2013

Sausage Ribs – Deliver A Bone-Jarring Hit to Your Football Food Lineup

Chips and dips may be fine for regular season gridiron action, but when the playoffs roll around, and you need to go that extra yard to score a touchdown with your guests’ taste buds, these Italian sausage-spiced baby back ribs are a proven big game performer. 

If only I could’ve somehow added a few more forced football references into that intro.

Sweet and succulent pork ribs are never a bad addition to the game day buffet, but they can get predictable with the same old rubs and sauces. Here we have all the baby back rib-y goodness you know and love, but with the flavor profile of sweet Italian fennel sausage.

I know a lot of you wrap your ribs in foil for the initial slow/low cooking phase, as do I, but here we’re doing them uncovered to help achieve a slightly chewier, more toothsome texture. These are still quite tender and juicy, but just not too soft, and falling off the bone.

These really did have a wonderful flavor, which was further highlighted by the spicy, sweet, and tangy orange glaze. My only regret was that I didn’t have any hotdog buns around, as I would have pulled out the bones, and served these just like a real sausage sandwich. There’s always a next time.

Anyway, I enjoyed all that rich and fancy holiday feasting as much as anyone, but now all I’m craving is a couch, a cold beer, and a simple plate of ribs…that tastes like sausage. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 racks of baby back ribs:
2 trimmed racks of baby back pork ribs
For the rub:
1 tbsp fennel seed, crushed fine
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne or to taste
For the glaze (simmer until reduced by half):
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp hot chili sauce or to taste
1 tbsp orange zest

- Bake ribs at 275 degrees F. for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until fork tender.
- Cut, coat with glaze, and finish in a hot 425 degrees F. oven until caramelized.

View the complete recipe


BooKat said...


Kath said...

Brilliant, Chef!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, Chef!

illimanisnow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
illimanisnow said...

Chef, just a dumb question, how much does each rack weigh?

Chef John said...

Maybe 2 pounds?

Paige said...

Have been following you for over a year now. Have never commented, but wanted to. Everything I make of yours (that's been A LOT - had to put a computer in the kitchen) is a tremendous hit with family and friends! (and me, thanks for the weight gain!) I will be trying these ribs this weekend while I watch football - Go Ravens!! (oops -- are you a 49ers fan?) Happy Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

These look so good. I cannot wait until it gets warmer outside or hockey starts up again. Ill make these sucks and eat the rack by myself!

dana said...

I'm thinking that oven baked wings and this spice combo would be 'da bomb'!

Might have to vary the rub a bit to accomodate the flour dredge or instant potato coating, but doggone it, you got me thinking!

Roberto said...

Neither my wife nor I eat much modern restaurant food where the words “good” and “sweet” are too often used interchangeably and we hardly ever add sugar to traditionally savory dishes cooked at home. I think that’s why we found these ribs too sweet. In fact, my wife found them so cloying that she refused to eat them. These ribs did; however, have a flavor reminiscent of sausage which I liked. I prefer to test a recipe as written before making any changes, so I faithfully followed the instructions. But if I try these again I will cut down on (or even eliminate) the sugar.

JMCentanni said...

Great recipe that DOES taste like spicy Italian sausage. Those who said these were too sweet weren't drinking enough beer with this salty sweet finger food! Paired really well with a medium hopped craft red ale.

FoodieFanatic said...

Hey Chef John just curious how long will it take to cook in a smoker?

FoodieFanatic said...

Hey Chef John how long will I need to cook in a smoker for this recipe?

Chef John said...

Sorry, no idea! Don't have a smoker.

idlewyld said...

Made Sausage Ribs for hungry crowd last night
Lip smacking good
None left

I am now worshipped as OZ de cuisine

You are man behind curtain

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Greetings Chef,

I'll have you know that these ribs were super delicious and that entire rack of ribs was devoured at a recent beach gathering in record time.

In retrospect it seems as if a pool of pirahna fish had suddenly appeared out of no where to feast on those ribs.

And it also be a good thing that I hoarded a few of those ribs for myself before setting them out for service.


Jerry Drzewiecki said...

Chef John,
I may try these ribs but, I must take serious issue with you. You leave that sinewy skin on the bone side just because 'you paid for it'? I am a great fan of your recipes but, that's the most lame argument you could have made. Leaving that skin on is an insult to your guests and defeats the purpose for seasoning that side of the ribs. A few measly slashes won't cut it. If you want to play the frugal gourmet, here's an idea: Remove the skin, stretch it, and let it air dry. In a few days, you will have some artisan ukelele strings that would fetch a pretty penny on eBay. Thanks for your good work.

Chef John said...

First of all, you missed a pretty obvious joke. "Paid for" was a joke. I hate explaining jokes. Secondly, I've never had a guest been insulted by me not taking off the membrane, which by the way is almost never taken off at real BBQ restaurants. If you think it's significantly better, then take it off. It's not worth the time, IMO. The cuts are more than adequate. Suit yourself, but don't tell me I'm insulting people. That's ridiculous.

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

Chef John,
Let's try to remain friends. I apologize for implying that you would insult your guests. That was a bad choice of words and over the top. I would remove that skin as a courtesy to guests who might have a more discerning rib palate. I use Cook's Illustrated as my definitive source for cooking information and they seem to agree with you. That said, I actually did get the "paid for" joke. Mea maxima culpa and cook on!!

Rocki'n Da Wint'r Ribs said...

Followed the the baking portion only for one rack, went to make 4 racks and the ribs weren't fork tender. I placed 2 pans, with 2 racks each, on 2 shelves of my electric oven one on the 1st oven rack 1pan on the 3rd oven rack. After 1hr @250 I rotated top to bottom.

After I thought I should put all 4rib racks on the same level, that would be pan and space challenging. Any suggestions?

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

You paid for that parchment-like skin on the ribs so you want to eat it, right? Do you also eat the peel on a banana because you paid for it? What about candy bar wrappers? I'll try this recipe sans the skin.

John Mark Osborne said...

I've tried a lot of combination of rubs, glazes and marinades for ribs over the years. Even tried a curry based rub that turned out yummy. But, I would have never thought of this combination of spices and glaze. I'm gonna give it a try!

John Mark Osborne said...

Okay, these ribs were simply awesome! My wife said they were scrumptious which means it can't get any better. Thanks again for the great recipe. BTW, I cooked mine at 250 degrees for 2.5 hours on Convection Roast. Perfectly done.

Andrew Kelliher said...

I made these Ribs on the grill using Apple wood to smoke them. They were excellent.