Alton Brown's Rib Recipe and Method

Here's how Alton does ribs in the oven. These are "wet ribs." Non-Alton comment: Silver skin on concave or back side of ribs can be removed as it is less edible and impedes the absorption of flavor from the rub. If this is done, then the back side of the ribs can be rubbed to good effect too.

The rib protocol

Here are the steps to making ribs in the oven. The last step is the best.

  - rub ribs
  - rest in refrigerator
  - braise in foil
  - reduce remaining braising liquid to a glaze
  - glaze ribs
  - broil (without carbonizing glaze)
  - eat ribs


The rub, consisting of dry ingredients, can be made up and stored with the last part of ingredients added later. The last part can be constituted of wildy different aromates.

  8 parts brown sugar
  3 parts kosher salt
  1 part chili powder
  1 part aromatic ingredients

The last part needs to equal one part of the pre-made rub. It is made up of optional ingredients, for example:

    black pepper
    cayenne pepper
    jalapeño seasoning
    old bay
    dried thyme
    onion powder


  - Pack onto convex side of ribs.
  - Remove silver skin and pack less.
  - Pat and roll up each rack in dull side of aluminum foil.
  - Refrigerate at least 1 hour (overnight is better.

Braising/glazing liquid

Braising liquid consists of acidity + salinity + sweetness + aroma...

(for two racks)

  1 cup white wine (moisture and "the acidity")
  2 tbsp white wine vinegar ("more acidity")
  2 tbsp Worcestershire ("the salty")
  2 tbsp honey ("the sweet")
  2 cloves garlic, smashed hard--not chopped ("the aroma")

  - Microwave for 1 minute to dissolve solids.
  - Enclose each rack in foil envelope. Don't crimp too hard.
  - Open one end of crimped foil and pour braising liquid in.
  - Put into the oven to braise at 225° for 2½ hours. Don't get too hot or racks will dry out.
  - To check for doneness, open one and attempt to twist the second bone in. If it twists loose, then it's done.
  - Reduce remaining braising liquid to get a glaze.
  - Brush glaze onto ribs before broiling (ribs uncovered). Don't brush too thickly or it will keep broil from reaching ribs and the sugar will carbonize too.
- Don't take eyes off broiler.