Baby Back Ribs with Ancho Honey Barbecue Sauce



Sharing the Table at Garland's Lodge

Published by Garland's Oak Creek Lodge

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

It took me a long time to convince Mary that we should do baby backs at the Lodge; with only one entrée, we always feel it needs to be really the top-end special. So when we started doing them it was on July 4th, I think, and maybe the long holiday weekends for Memorial and Labor day, traditional “barbecue” times. Now, we do them anytime, and have many requests for them. In fact, we have guests who won’t eat pork, but will eat these ribs!

Cooking Methodbaking


Total Timeunder 4 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Textureherby, hot & spicy, meaty, savory, spiced, sweet, tangy, tart


  • 5 full slabs baby back ribs
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 4 ancho chiles, stemmed and rinsed
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobe, with some adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups canned pear tomatoes
  • 5 cups of water
  • ½ cup honey, plus more if needed
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup each cider vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice


  1. For the Ribs:

    Preheat the oven to 300°. Combine the salt, sugar, and all the spices and herbs, and mix well. Sprinkle both sides of the slabs with the mixture, fairly generously. You will have some left over. Spread the ribs in 2 baking pans so they only overlap a little. Pour about 2 cups of water into each pan, or about ½ inch, cover the pans very tightly with foil, and bake in the very slow oven for about 3 hours.

  2. Pull from the oven and remove the foil, setting it aside. Cool the ribs for 10 to 15 minutes, till they can be handled. Baste each slab with some of the sauce, top and bottom, then cut each slab in half Recover and put back in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover the ribs for the last 20 minutes before dinner, to glaze them off a bit. Allow enough time to let the ribs cool a little before serving, because you do eat them with your fingers…

  3. Serve with a little extra sauce drizzled on top.

    For the Sauce:

    Combine the onion, garlic, and chiles in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan. Toast the herbs and spices together in a small skillet until very fragrant and add to the pan. Add the salt, tomatoes and water, cover and cook over medium heat 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool a bit then blend until smooth. Strain the sauce back into the rinsed pan, pressing on the solids.

  4. Add the honey, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, and juices and bring to a simmer. Cook the sauce slowly for about 45 minutes, till thickened some, and the flavors have mellowed. Add more salt if needed, and more honey if it’s too spicy.

  5. Makes about 6 cups of sauce. Extra sauce stores several weeks in the fridge, a few months in the freezer.

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These sound wonderful and I would like to make them if this recipe wern't so confusing. The ingredient list is a mess.


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