Baby Back Ribs

My husband’s friend has been begging me to post this recipe so here it is:  Finger lickin’ barbecued Baby Back Ribs!
Finger lickin' Baby Back Ribs

These beauties are my mom’s famous recipe for barbecued Baby Back Ribs.  They are the BEST ribs I have every had!  Tender, melt-in-your-mouth, fallin-off-the-bone ribs that are thickly caramelized with the perfect barbecue sauce thanks to my mom’s “triple dipping” process.

barbecuesauceK, so the kind of barbecue sauce is important.  Open Pit Original barbecue sauce is a very strong spicy barbecue sauce which is why the recipe calls for mixing it with brown sugar (this helps with the yummy caramelization).  Unfortunately, it is not sold in all grocery stores but you can go to Open Pit’s website and it shows you what stores near you carry it (brilliant!).  (I know that for Omaha they only sell it at Hy-Vee but in St. Louis they pretty much sell it at all the stores.)  You can also just buy it online.

Now, I’ve never tried these ribs with any sauce but Open Pit (because it is A-MAZING) but if you choose a sweet barbecue sauce (like Sweet Baby Ray’s) I recommend NOT mixing it with brown sugar (that would be just too sweet…I think).

But really, what makes these ribs awesome is the boiling that makes them tender, the Open Pit barbecue sauce, and “triple dipping” that caramelizes more delicious sauce on the meat.

NOTE: Some may call me crazy for boiling ribs saying flavor is lost, but the number of people that have asked for this recipe begs to differ.  They are so so tender and the caramelized barbecue sauce is delicious!  If you are still worried about it, feel free to season the salt water with garlic, onion, and whatever spices.

Finger lickin' Baby Back Ribs

See how it is caramelized and starting to fall off the bone?  It makes my mouth water just looking at it!

Baby Back Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I recommend placing warm wet cloths on the table for each guest because eating ribs makes a sticky mess.
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups Open Pit Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Cut racks between each bone and throw ribs into a large stock pot. Fill with water about 1 inch above the ribs and add the salt.
  2. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to medium/low (a low boil so it doesn't boil over) and cover. Cook for 1.5-2 hours until fork tender and almost falling off the bone. Drain off water and place ribs in a shallow dish (like a 9x13 pan or you can use a large bowl).
  3. In a medium bowl, mix sugar, barbecue sauce, and lemon juice together. Pour over ribs and make sure to coat each rib completely (this counts as your "first dip"). At this point you can refrigerate the ribs until ready to grill or take them straight outside.
  4. Place ribs on a heated grill over medium-high heat. Close the grill and wait for 2 minutes. Flip the ribs, close it again and wait another 2 minutes.
  5. Now, take one rib at a time, dunk it in the sauce ("second dip") letting excess sauce drip back in the bowl, and place it back on the grill. Repeat with each rib. Close grill, wait 2 minutes, flip, and wait again. Repeat this step one more time for your "third dip".
  6. Once the ribs are slightly charred on both sides, remove from grill and serve.

Recipe Source: RaeJean Eisenhauer

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  1. Susan Temple says

    I LOVE youe recipes & they bring back such memories of our fun family times with the Crandalls!
    Your mom got this sauce recipe from John even to the boiling but I have gone to baking them slow to get that same tenderness….the sauce is the secret & I use it on my brisket & the people of NH say they can drink it because it is so good! Keep the recipes coming….we love the french puffs, & your fabulous sunrise salad with the poppy seed dressing. Do you have sny great chicken company recipes because we are having a dinner party this Wednesday & I need some ideas! Please!!!

    • says

      Susan- Thank you! I’m so glad you have been enjoying my recipes and that it brings back memories! I had no idea my mom got it from John. I’ll have to try baking the ribs too.

      Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of chicken recipes up yet but of what I do have posted any of the following would be definite crowd pleasers:
      Baked Chicken Taquitos (serve with Cilantro Lime Dressing, Refried Beans, and Spanish Rice)
      Louisiana Chicken Pasta (it’s got chicken, pasta, and some veggies so maybe just also serve a side salad)
      Cashew Chicken (served over rice but you’ll probably want to serve another side like a salad or rolls)
      Chicken Tikka Masala (this is also served over rice and naan bread is a great side with it but again I recommend a side salad or maybe steamed veggies)
      My Tilapia with Mango Salsa is way good and super fast and easy but if you don’t want to serve fish I think it would be good to use chicken instead of tilapia and just do everything the same but grill the chicken.

      I hope that helps! I’ll try to get some more good dinner party recipes posted in the near future.

  2. Lori says

    Oh my goodness, these were awesome! We usually put them in the oven with a dry rub on them, then sauce them on the grill, but this was so much better! I live in the STL, but haven’t used Open Pit in years. We used Stubbs and still used the same amount of brown sugar, but I’m going to pick up some Open Pit on my next grocery trip. Well done!

    • says

      Thank you so much Lori!!! I’m glad you liked it! I haven’t ever tried Stubbs (because my mother ingrained in us that Open Pit is the best) but I’ll have to give it a try.

      • Lori says

        We liked the addition of brown sugar to a spicy sauce so much, we’re using it on chicken drumsticks tonight. I could never get the right “stickiness” that I loved so much when my Mom used her homemade sauce, and this really does the trick!

        • says

          Barbecued chicken drumsticks sound awesome! We use the sauce for barbecued chicken breasts and it’s so delicious but I’ll have to try drumsticks too. I’m so glad you’re loving the sauce! :)

  3. Lana says

    I a having a neighborhood party tomorrow night. I try to do as much as possible in advance. Do you think that after boiling the ribs and putting them in bbq sauce (1st dip) that would keep overnight in the fridge. Not sure if that will effect the outcome.

    • says

      Sorry to just get back to you Lana! Your event has come and gone so I’m not sure if you tried this but it should be just fine to leave it in the fridge overnight.

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