Baby Back Ribs for Fourth of July will bring raves

Use this recipe for tender and delicious BBQ baby back ribs and happy guests. Photo: Mary P. Moran

LOS ANGELES, CA- Baby back ribs are “finger-licking good” and most importantly they’re a perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Baby back ribs are ideal to serve because they’re small, tender and flavorful.  At the grocery store you’ll find them in the pork section. Ribs can be a specialty item that is only found during the summer months, so if you can’t find it on the shelf ask your butcher to prepare the cut for you.

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Ribs, Photo by:Mary P. Moran

The baby back ribs you buy should smell slightly sweet without any heavy rancid smell. Look for slightly pink and clear juices on the bottom of the tray or in the plastic bag that contains it.

Also make sure the bones are an off white hue (if you can see them).

Splurge and buy organic or grass-fed pork for a more flavorful meat. Be aware you will pay a premium for these cuts of organic and grass fed meats, but it’s worth it.

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Baby back ribs are small and extremely delicious so when you are buying them figure four to five ribs per female and then six to seven ribs per male. (Men typically eat a few more, but not always).

The following method was handed down to me by my mother. The trick to creating really tender meat that falls off the bone is to boil the meat first. 

The next important thing is to NOT overcook the ribs because it will dry out the meat and leave it tough and inedible.  The last important trick is to glaze the BBQ ribs with just a few minutes left on the grill so the sauce doesn’t burn and ruin the ribs.

Prepare the ribs for your guests by cutting them into three’s (three bones per serving). The easiest way to cut them is by placing the ribs on a cutting board meat side down. Use a very sharp knife to cut in-between the ribs.  However, when you are plating them serve them meat side up.

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Your guests are going to rave about your ribs.  Just make sure to hand them wet towels at the end so your hard work doesn’t end up all over your house and walls.


Chef Mary Payne

Chef Mary Payne

Recipe: Baby Back BBQ Ribs

Time: 90 minutes                       
Servings: 4


  • 2 slabs baby back ribs
  • 2-½ c BBQ sauce (I always go for a sweeter BBQ sauce made from molasses)
  • 1 onion peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot peeled
  • ½ c Mary’s BBQ Spices*
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ¼ c chopped parsley

*Mary’s BBQ Spices

  • 1 T garlic powder
  • ½ T paprika
  • ½ t chili powder
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • ½ T salt
  • ½ t pepper

First cut the top and the bottom off the onion. Then peel the outer layer of the onion. Next cut the onion half. 

Cut the top of the carrot off and peel it. Then cut it into large chunks.

When you’re ready, remove the ribs from the package and wash and dry them.

Next in a large pot, fill it almost to the top with water (leave enough room for the ribs).  Add the onion and carrot to the water.

Bring the water, carrot and onion to a rapid boil and add both slabs of ribs.  Boil for 35 minutes. When you are finished remove them from the pot and set them on a cookie sheet.

In a medium mixing bowl add all of the spices and mix thoroughly and set aside until you are ready to spread it on the ribs.

Next heat your grill to a medium high heat.  Rub your ribs with Mary’s Spices and a bit of canola oil. Place the ribs on the grill, presentation side down (turn down the heat directly under the ribs). Cook them for 15 minutes and then flip. Cook for another 10 minutes and then baste every few minutes for an additional 10 minutes.

Once they are golden brown remove them from the grill.

When you are ready to serve the ribs cut the them into three bone segments (it’s easiest to cut the ribs from the underneath rather than the top), garnish them with chopped parsley and serve them with more BBQ sauce.


Go to Chef Mary’s Face Book Page enter to win Give aways during the month of July from Sprinkles Cupcakes, Better than Bouillon and Curious Chef  for Kids .

E-mail questions for Ask Chef Mary Fridays to or click the Ask Chef Mary link above.


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Mary Moran

Upon graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts in 2002, Chef Mary Payne Moran began her professional career shelling crabs at the world-renowned restaurant, Michael's in Santa Monica.  Simultaneously, she launched her own company, Hail Mary’s, founded upon the belief that good food nurtures the soul, and began catering weddings, parties and large corporate events.

In the fall of 2008, Mary began teaching her culinary skills to others.    Currently she can be found at Hollywood School House teaching her after school cooking class, and teaching her popular "Vegetables or Not Here I Come" assembly.

Most recently, Mary has launched another division in her company as well as a chef she is now also a Certified Nutritionist for high profile clients.  She helps her clients discover their healthy way of eating.  Mary has recently been published in the Los Angeles Magazine, & The New Jersey Star Ledger.

Daily she addresses cooking aficionados through her blog - Cooking with Chef Mary as well as her how-to webisodes on You Tube.

Contact Mary Moran


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