American Classics: Baby Back Ribs in Buffalo Sauce
Buffalo-style baby back ribs solve a fundamental problem wing- and rib-lovers have long shared: How to combine the savory, spicy, crave-inducing flavor of Buffalo sauce with something more substantial than the little niblets of meat found on chicken wings. Baby back ribs solve it. Individually small enough to qualify as a starter but meaty enough to eat as a meal, Buffalo-style ribs are an almost organic combination.
Instead of brushing Buffalo sauce on the ribs after roasting as a sort of afterthought, you want to bake that flavor into the meat. But you don't want the ribs to dry out during the hours of slow cooking it takes them to reach tenderness, either – that's where foil comes in. Covering the ribs in foil helps keep them moist during cooking; to caramelize the sauce into a rich glaze, simply uncover the ribs toward the end of cooking.
Total time: 2 hours, 45 minutes | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 6 to 8
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup Louisiana hot sauce
- Vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- 5 pounds baby back ribs
- Heat the oven to 300F. Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Whisk the hot sauce into the butter and sugar.
- Set a wire rack on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Arrange the ribs side by side on the wire rack, and brush them on all sides with vegetable oil.
- Season the ribs on both sides with kosher salt and rearrange them side by side. Place the pan in the oven on the top rack.
- Broil the ribs until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Take the ribs out of the oven and brush them liberally on both sides with Buffalo sauce.
- Adjust the oven rack to the center position, and return the ribs to the oven. Bake the ribs for 1 hour, and then liberally brush them again with Buffalo sauce. Cover the ribs with foil; you don't have to wrap each rack of ribs separately, but rather cover the whole pan.
- Bake the ribs for another hour and check the tenderness with a paring knife; it should slide in and out easily. Take the foil off the ribs.
- Brush the top of ribs once more with Buffalo sauce. Bake the ribs until the sauce caramelizes, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Take the ribs out of the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Serve the ribs with the remaining buffalo sauce on the side for dipping.
Liberally brush the ribs with Buffalo sauce the day before and wrap them in plastic wrap for deeper flavor penetration.
This recipe makes a thick, rich Buffalo sauce with a balanced spicy-sweetness. For a lighter, less sweet Buffalo sauce, you can cut the sugar down by half or omit it altogether. If you do omit the sugar, still heat the butter in a saucepan until browned, about 10 minutes.