This recipe for baby back ribs with a cherry bourbon is a welcome disaster.

Cherry-Bourbon Glazed Short Ribs

Active time:40 minutes

Total Time:2 hours 40 minutes, plus refrigeration overnight


Active time:40 minutes

Total Time:2 hours 40 minutes, plus refrigeration overnight


While it’s true there’s never a bad time for ribs, grilled ribs in the summer are pretty special. You have the opportunity to eat outdoors. You have the opportunity to embrace clutter.

Eating ribs indoors requires a minimum of courtesy so that your clothes, furniture, and face remain sauce-free. We nibbled on them sticky little fingers up. We may fantasize about ripping open those tender, succulent ribs with our bare hands and going to town with them like a dog with a pillow, but we don’t, because we’re not barbarians.

As winter turns to spring and our days grow longer, our patience for rib control shortens. We go outdoors with a thirst for freedom. Freedom to run through the wet grass with bare feet. Freedom to flip in the sand and splash in the waves. Freedom to eat ribs like no one is watching.

The most tender and meaty of all ribs is baby back, which has nothing to do with babies, but everything to do with backs. They come from the back of the pig, where they curve around the loin.

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Because this is the leanest part of the pork, the baby back ribs have very little fat and lots of meat for dipping with copious amounts of sweet, sticky sauce. All pork ribs will melt off the bone when cooked low and slow, but thanks to their diminutive size (this is the shortest rib cut), pork ribs will get from grill to table faster than anyone else. the other cuts. This is an important thing to keep in mind when you’re spectacularly hungry for ribs.

Where the baby’s back ends, the pork ribs begin, curving around the fat, savory belly of the pig to the breastbone. Pork ribs are fattier, with very little meat on top of their long, flat bones, and lots of well-marbled meat between them. More marbling means more flavor, but it also means you have to wait a little longer for your ribs to be tender.

At the end of pork ribs, where they meet the breastbone, is a fatty flap of pork belly-like meat studded with little bits of cartilage known as the rib tip, and it’s pristine when given enough. Time to melt into the stuff dreams are made of. of. If you’d like to use pork ribs instead of baby backs in this recipe, give them an extra 10 minutes on low, simmer so the tenderness comes off the bone, make it 20. Then move them to the direct heat side. from the grill, slather on the bourbon cherry sauce and get ready to have a good time.

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St. Louis-style ribs are pork ribs without the rib tips, so you can use them interchangeably with baby backs in this recipe with no adjustments needed. These rectangular racks are a great choice if you want the almost primitive experience of feasting on fatty and flavorful rib meat without gristle.

And, remember, it’s okay to shred any of these ribs like we’re arebarbarians, in fact. After all, it is summer.

Cherry-Bourbon Glazed Short Ribs

This recipe calls for baby back ribs, but it can also be made with pork ribs or St. Louis ribs. Those rib cuts, which come from the belly region of the pig, are flatter, fattier, and more flavorful, but because of their searing, they take a little longer to cook; add at least 10 more minutes to the “low and slow” cook time, then use visual cues to determine when they’re tender enough to move to direct heat. This recipe will also produce more glaze than you’ll likely need for two ribs; you can serve it on the side or use it to glaze poultry the next time you grill.

move along: Ribs should be rubbed and refrigerated for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days before grilling.

storage notesDirections: Refrigerate ribs up to 3 days. Leftover frosting can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 year.

GRADES: To prepare your gas grill for indirect heat grilling: cover and preheat with all burners on high until it reaches 300 degrees. When you’re ready to cook, if you’re using a three-burner grill, turn off the center burner and reduce the heat on the other burners to medium-high. Many two-burner grills are set for indirect heat, so you can simply place the food in the center of the cooking grate. Heat one burner to medium-high and leave the other off.

A Guide to Grilling Basics

If using a charcoal grill: Fill a fireplace starter with charcoal, light it, and when the coals are covered in ash, place them on either side of the pan, leaving an empty space in the middle. If your grill is too small to allow for an empty spot, push the coals over to one side, leaving the other side empty. Pour enough water into the pan to come up at least 1 inch up the side. Replace the cooking rack and place an oven or grill thermometer on top. Cover the grill and preheat to medium-low heat, about 300 degrees. For a medium-low heat, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 8 seconds.

If you use a charcoal grill, the recipe may take about 15 minutes longer.

oven methodRibs: These ribs can also be slow roasted for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a preheated 300-degree oven. To caramelize the glaze, at the end, raise the rack about 6 inches from the broiler and broil for about 3 minutes, watching carefully so the glaze doesn’t burn.

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  • 2 baby back ribs (3 to 4 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, mild or hot
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • One bag (16 ounces) frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Remove the silvery membrane from the back of the baby back ribs by sliding a butter knife under the skin in the middle section, lifting and loosening until you can grab a portion with a towel, so you can tear off first one side, then the other . .

Pat ribs dry and brush each with 1 tablespoon mustard.

Cure the ribs: In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cumin, paprika, garlic and onion powders, salt, and pepper. Coat the ribs on both sides with the dry dressing. Place in an airtight container or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to overnight.

Grill the ribs: Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature for about 1 hour before grilling.

Prepare the grill for indirect heat. (See notes). Place a heatproof or foil pan next to the coals on the cooler side of the grill. Pour enough water into the pan so that it comes up at least 1 inch up the side, then add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Place the rack over the skillet and coals and place the ribs on the skillet bone-side down. Close the grill and adjust the heat to maintain a temperature of about 300 degrees. Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.

Prepare the glaze: While the ribs are roasting, in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine the cherries, bourbon, molasses, orange zest, cloves, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook until cherries begin to soften, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and, using an immersion blender, puree the glaze until smooth. (Alternatively, you can spoon the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.) Return skillet to medium-low heat and continue cooking, uncovered, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside; you should have about 2 cups of frosting (you will need about 1 cup for the frosting).

Have a cutting board and serving platter handy.

Brush the ribs with the glaze and slide them to the direct heat side of the grill. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, then brush the ribs with more glaze and turn them so they are meat side down. (If you have sprouts, move the ribs slightly to the side so they’re not directly over an open flame.) Continue grilling, uncovered, until the sauce begins to caramelize, 5 to 10 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut between the bones. Arrange the ribs on a serving platter, brush with more glaze and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving (4 ribs/12 ounces meat plus 1/4 cup glaze)

Calories: 825; Total Fats: 40 g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 252mg; sodium: 1134mg; Carbs: 27g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugar: 26g; Protein: 67g

This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

From food writer Allison Robicelli.

Tested by Todd A. Price; email questions to

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