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Indoor Ribs: Use This Recipe For Smoked Ribs When You Can’t Get Outside

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Two teams testing ribs

Don’t have a smoker or a grill? Live in a condo or dorm? Waiting out a blizzard? Broken leg? This technique delivers tender, juicy indoor ribs with a flavor that might fool you into thinking it was cooked outdoors. This is the recipe that beat recipes by Alton Brown, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, and Chef John of All Recipes in a blind taste test by TheKitchn.com.

Hungry for more ribs recipes, tips, and techniques? Click here to download our ebook “Amazing Ribs Made Easy” $3.99 on Amazon (free Kindle app runs on all computers and devices). Or, get this book and others FREE as a member of the AmazingRibs.com Pitmaster Club. Click here to join.

In the summer of 2015 our friends, the wizards at ChefSteps.com, invited Chef Ryan and me to their kitchen/lab in Seattle to show them how we cook ribs outdoors. Then, in a friendly challenge, we made indoor ribs that taste like ribs cooked outdoors. Watch the video above to see what happened.

They started their indoor ribs sous vide, a method of gently cooking in a vacuum pack in a hot water bath and then finishing them in the oven. We baked ours entirely inside in the oven, at first wrapped in foil, then nekkid.

The results? We agreed that our flavor was better. We agreed their meat was slightly juicier. We also agreed ours tasted more outdoorsy because we marinated the ribs for a bit in dilute liquid smoke. Both teams used a bit of Prague Powder #1 in their rub. PP#1 is a curing salt that gives hot dogs, corned beef, ham, bacon, and other cured meats their pink tinge. Both teams got a faux smoke ring from it. If you have a sous vide setup, instead of using foil as we did, do as they did and cook the ribs sous vide for five hours at 165°F (73.9°C), and then dry roast at 225°F (107.2°C) for two hours. Here’s a video of the results.

Now a word on liquid smoke. BBQ snobs turn up their noses at the stuff because they get smoke in their cooker. What happens is smoke comes off combusting wood and condenses on cool meat. Pretty simple. Well that’s how liquid smoke is made. Wood is burned, it condenses on cool metal, and then it is bottled. Pretty much the way they make whiskey. So next time you run into a snob who starts to rant about liquid smoke, snatch that bourbon from their hand.

Smoky Indoor Ribs Recipe


indoor-ribs
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
4.11 from 169 votes
If you can't get outside to smoke your ribs on a grill or smoker, here's a way to get smoky tasting ribs indoors using your oven. The recipe is super simple and you can use any cut of ribs you want.

Course:
Dinner
,
Lunch
,
Main Course
Cuisine:
American

Makes:

1 slab baby back ribs
Servings: 3

Takes:

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours

Ingredients

Notes:
About the smoked Meathead's Memphis Dust. To amp this up to 11, we make Meathead's Memphis Dust with smoked smoked garlic, smoked onion, smoked salt, and paprika. They are available in some stores or online.
About the sauce. You can use a store-bought sauce or one of the recipes on this site such as "Kansas City Classic Sauce". If you go for a store bought, get one that calls itself "smoky." That means it has liquid smoke added. KC Masterpiece original is a good example. If you wish, you can add about 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the barbecue sauce after you taste it.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works. 
Optional. Add 1/4 teaspoon of Prague Powder #1 to get a faux smoke ring. The smoke ring is not really made by smoke! Click the link to read more. And PP#1 really doesn't impact flavor, so you can skip it, but if you add it, you might be able to pass these ribs off as cooked outdoors.
Note. If you use thicker, heavier cuts such as spareribs or St. Louis Cut ribs, add 1 hour to the cooking time outside the foil.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs and trim excess fat. Mix ½ cup (118.3 ml) water with the liquid smoke, and marinate the meat in this for an hour. I usually cut the slab in half, put each half in a 1 gallon (1.9 L) zipper bag, and divide the marinade between the two.
  • Cook. Season both sides with salt and then Meathead's Memphis Dust. Wrap the meat in foil. Put it in a pan (to catch leaks) and cook in 225°F (107.2°C) oven for 2 hours. This makes the meat very tender, but not mushy.
  • Roast. Now take the meat out of the foil, then put it back in the oven, meaty side up, without the foil to dry roast for another 2 hours at 225°F (107.2°C). This will firm the bark.
  • Broil. Read this article to see how to tell when the meat is ready. I use the bend test to make sure it is done. When it is, turn the slab meaty side down. Slather the bone side with the sauce, turn the oven to broil and put the meat under the broiler so it is aligned with the heat source. Broil for 5 minutes with the oven door partially open or until the sauce bubbles, watching closely to make sure it doesn't burn. Leave the door open so the oven cools a bit and to make sure the thermostat doesn't turn off the broiler. Repeat for the meaty side. This direct concentrated heat caramelizes the sugar and creates more deeper flavor. Serve.

Nutrition per Serving

Calories: 623kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 2793mg | Potassium: 748mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 927IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 14mg

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Published On: 3/3/2013 Last Modified: 5/21/2022

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  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

 

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