These Braised Baby Back Ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and the Zesty BBQ Sauce is amazingly delicious! A bit sharp, a bit sweet, a bit spicy – these ribs and sauce will make your taste buds sing!

I love ribs – and I have my favorite short rib recipes (“Fall Off The Bone Short Ribs” in my cookbook A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®, and Spicy Short Ribs are at the top of the list), but I don’t have a fav baby back rib recipe. So, my goal this summer was to create one! After a few experiments with various cooking methods, I finally landed on these Braised Baby Back Ribs with Zesty BBQ Sauce.

These baby back ribs are super easy to prepare – with minimal chopping! First, ribs are cut into individual pieces, browned and then slow cooked on the cooktop with this uber flavorful, tangy, sweet and spicy BBQ Sauce. Once the ribs are tender, put them in the oven to stay warm while you finish the sauce – cooling, blending, then reducing. That’s it!

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White platters filled with Braised Baby BBQ Sauce

Braised Baby Back Ribs with Zesty BBQ Sauce

These Braised Baby Back Ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and the Zesty BBQ Sauce is amazingly delicious! A bit sharp, a bit sweet, a bit spicy – these ribs and sauce will make your taste buds sing!

  • Yield: 4 to 5 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


(See gluten-free adaptations in the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe.)

Zesty BBQ Sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup (or tomato sauce)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (regular or smoked)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 large yellow onions, sliced, and slices cut into quarters

Braised Baby Back Ribs

  • 2 3/4 to 3 pounds pork baby back (or pork loin back) ribs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (not needed if using a good nonstick pan)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste


Zesty BBQ Sauce

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the ketchup, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir in onions. Set aside.

Braised Baby Back Ribs

  1. Remove membrane from bone side of ribs – see easy to follow directions from Weber. Cut into individual ribs. Pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over high heat. Add half of ribs and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining ribs. Drain any oil or fat off from the pan. Add reserved ribs back; spoon BBQ sauce over all. Cover tightly and cook at a low simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is very tender. Stir occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  4. Remove ribs from pan and place in a covered baking dish in the oven to stay warm.
  5. Cool sauce to room temperature. Skim any grease off the surface of the sauce. Purée in a blender until smooth. Place back in pan and bring to a medium boil. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, around 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (I like to add a touch more vinegar and salt).
  6. To serve, baste ribs with some of the sauce, passing the rest on the side (I like to put it in individual dipping bowls for each person).


Gluten free: Use gluten free Worcestershire sauce.

Make ahead: Ribs and sauce can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated separately. Reheat ribs in a 350 degree oven just until warm; heat sauce on the stove top over medium heat.

  • Author: By Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: meats, pork, gluten free, BBQ
  • Method: Braising
White platters filled with Braised Baby BBQ Sauce

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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