Looking for an easy way to feed a crowd? Break out the baby backs.
Though they are best cooked slowly, baby back ribs require little hands-on time. And the combination of slow cooking and a vibrant sauce packs intense flavor that — pardon the cliche — really can have diners licking their fingers.
But you don’t need to wait for grilling season. Though outdoor barbecue is the traditional approach for baby back ribs, quite respectable versions can be had from the oven.
Most roasted rib recipes are as simple as cutting the racks of ribs into servings, dousing them with a sauce, then popping them in the oven. If you have time to let them marinate a bit before cooking, all the better.
Baby back ribs would be a tough midweek meal (most recipes take at least an hour in the oven), but they are perfect for weekends and special occasions. And because they are cut from the loin, they are leaner and more tender than other ribs.
When selecting baby back ribs, get fresh. Pork doesn’t freeze well. If you do freeze it, use it within two months. When you buy, the meat should be light to dark pink. Tightly wrapped, it can be refrigerated for three to four days.
Most racks of baby back ribs will still have a tough membrane lining the inside surface. This is best removed; doing so allows the sauce flavor to more fully permeate the meat, and makes them easier to eat.