Alton Brown’s Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?

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I’m part of a Celebrity Chef Cooking Club and, one month, Alton Brown was the featured chef. I love Alton Brown’s educational approach to cooking, and he’s just a downright entertaining personality to watch.

Anyhow, one of the points of this cooking club is to challenge ourselves to make things that might be out of our ordinary realm. While I love eating ribs (obviously) and am very experienced with grilling a variety of meats, “low and slow” cooking is not something I’ve done much of. In fact, I find it a little intimidating. So, I thought with Alton’s help, I could attempt my first-ever rib recipe.

How it went + key learnings

I bought two slabs of ribs from a local grocery store — unless you have a favorite meat source, butcher, etc., I’d recommend checking the websites/advertisements for local stores to see if anyone is running a sale on pork ribs.

2 slabs of baby back ribs, raw an unseasoned, laying on white butcher paper. One rib is "rib side down" while the other is "rib side up," revealing the individual rib bones.

The biggest challenge in prepping the ribs was removing the membrane. It’s an optional step that Alton doesn’t address in his recipe, but a pitmaster friend advised that I do this. In case you’ve never done this, here’s a video showing how to remove the skin from ribs. The guy in the video makes it look easier than it is, but maybe it gets easier with practice.

Other than that, the recipe is pretty easy to follow. Generously apply the dry rub (an 8:3:1+1 ratio of 8 parts brown sugar, 3 parts salt, 1 part chili powder, plus 1 part collective seasonings). Put the foil shiny side down (I had no idea this mattered, but it helps the heat come in a little slower). Oh, and definitely use heavy-duty aluminum foil—it’s gonna be earning its keep.

Same two slabs of baby back ribs previously pictured, but this time they have a generous portion of dry rub applied to them and they are laying on aluminum foil.

Get patient while these cook — rushing the cook time will result in dry ribs. Nobody wants that.

Pro tip: make sure your oven temp is accurate. If you’re using an older oven (or, heck, even a newer one), the dial temp might not be the same as the actual temp. Use a cheap little oven thermometer to check.

I followed the recipe cook time exactly and was pretty pleased with the results, although my glaze didn’t get quite as dark as Alton’s.

Who Loves Ya Baby-Back Ribs Recipe

The original version of this recipe is available here from the Food Network, courtesy of Alton Brown. That link also includes a video of Alton making this recipe that you might find helpful!


Alton Brown’s Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?

Slow-cooked pork baby back ribs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Baby Back Ribs, Pork Ribs
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 18 ribs
Calories 308kcal


  • 2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs

Dry Rub

  • 8 tablespoons light brown sugar tightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Braising Liquid

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped


  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour. In a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
  • Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Open one end of the foil on each slab and pour half of the braising liquid into each foil packet. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Transfer the braising liquid into a medium saucepot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze.


Alton’s note: This recipe makes several batches of dry rub. If more rub is needed, it can be extended by any amount, as long as the ratio of 8:3:1:1 remains the same.

Would I make these again?

Overall, these turned out pretty good considering they were my first rib recipe. Because these were oven-cooked, there was zero smoke, which I missed. My preference will always be a smoked rib, but if you don’t have a smoker or are not comfortable maintaining low heat over multiple hours on a grill (I am not), an oven-cooked slow rib is a great choice.

If you’re just getting started making your own ribs and want an easy way to start, Alton’s recipe is great!

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