Meal Prep: Baby, Ribs are Back
You may think of baby back ribs as a cut of meat that requires long and slow smoking, followed by a lot of heavy barbecue sauce at the end. Well, neither is true! Provided you marinate them, baby back ribs can be quickly grilled, and the marinade can provide enough flavor that they don't require a finishing sauce.
When referring to baby back ribs, we're talking about pork meat. These are the light, pink-toned ribs, which also have more meat on the bone than other cuts, such as spare ribs. Containing 23 grams of protein and about 25% of multiple forms of vitamin B per three ounce serving, ribs are more nutritionally sound than they usually get credit for.
Below is a recipe for ribs that requires only a three-ingredient marinade, some fridge time, and a quick grilling period.
- 2 lbs baby back ribs
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly cut
- Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, and garlic in a mixing bowl, and stir briefly.
- Add ribs and toss well; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to eight hours.
- Preheat grill to medium high; sear for about 15 minutes bone side down and then ten minutes bone side up, until meat is no longer pink in the center.
Of course, there are other ways to use baby back ribs, too! Here are a few options if you have more time available for cooking, or if you want a different flavor profile than the recipe above:
Dry rub: Instead of a wet marinade, rub ribs with a dry seasoning mix and let sit.
Indirect heat: On either charcoal or gas, use medium-low heat and cook the ribs for about an hour on the top portion of the grill/barbecue. Finish by turning heat to high and searing briefly over direct heat. This won't be quite the same as an all day, slow smoking method, but it will offer a more similar result.
Indoors cooking: Ribs will be tender when baked in the oven for hours, or braised on the stove top.
Meal Prepping Basics
Room Temp is Key: No matter what type of meat you're cooking, letting it rest at room temperature for about thirty minutes prior to cooking will give you a better result. The reason for this is because, if you throw meat to heat straight from the fridge, the outside will quickly get seared or charred while the instead remains chilled. But be mindful to not leave anything out for too long; 30 minutes is considered universally safe for time spent between refrigerating and cooking.
Consider other Sweeteners: We tend to be a sugar focused society, but other sweeteners may work equally well. Both maple syrup and honey can work in some recipes in place of sugar, especially for marinades and wet preparations. Consider experimenting with your marinades, dressings, and sauces by swapping out sugar for an equal amount of either honey or maple syrup.