Easy Oven Baby Back Ribs | Wine Enthusiast
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Easy Oven Baby Back Ribs

Courtesy Executive Chef and Partner Drake Leonards, Eunice, Houston, TX. Instagram @eunicerestaurant

Eunice is named for Chef Leonards’ Louisiana hometown, where he grew up on a rice farm. He calls Eunice, his first Houston restaurant after years working both overseas and in New Orleans, “a modern Creole-style brasserie.” At home, Leonards cooks these ribs on a covered grill with pieces of oak and pecan wood, but this oven version is a nice option for cooler weather.


Spice Rub
2 racks baby back ribs (3½ to 4 lbs. total)
1 cup pepper jelly
¼ cup gochujang*
¼ cup white or cider vinegar
3 cups low-sodium beef broth

How to Make Spice Rub

Combine 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne and ½ teaspoon ground allspice.

How to Make Easy Oven Baby Back Ribs

Remove membrane from ribs by loosening with a butter knife and pulling off, using a paper towel for grip. Cut each rack in half to facilitate handling. Massage ribs with spice rub, covering every surface, and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator one hour before starting to cook, and place on a foil-lined roasting pan or other large shallow baking dish.

Heat oven to 450°F. Combine pepper jelly, gochujang and vinegar in a bowl and set aside. Place ribs in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Add about 1½ cups beef broth to pan—just enough to coat the bottom of the pan—and reduce heat to 325°F. After an hour, add more beef broth to replace whatever evaporated. Brush ribs on all sides with the pepper jelly mixture.

Cook for at least one more hour, until ribs pull easily from the bone, brushing with glaze every 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

*Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste, and can be readily found in specialty markets, large supermarkets or online.


Hess 2019 Allomi Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); 90 Points.

Pork baby back ribs are usually served with a sweetish glaze like this one, which goes well with a fruit-forward wine that still has good structure. A Napa Cab can show a nice balance of black fruit with oaky notes that can suggest smoke or wood fire. While they sometimes need age to soften, this is a textbook example of one that’s ready to drink, full of ripe black cherry, toasty oak and dried chili that reflects the spice rub and pepper jelly.

Or try it with a rye whiskey

Rye works well with sauces that are more vinegary and spicy than sweet.

This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!