Kansas City is something of a melting pot when it comes to barbecue traditions and styles, so it's no surprise that its same-named pork ribs start with spicy rub, but are finished with a complex, 15-ingredient barbecue sauce. The sign of a perfectly done rib? While extremely tender, it should not fall off the bone; you should be able to see where you took a bite out of the meat.
Recipe courtesy of Young Sun Huh
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Kansas City-Style Ribs
Total:
3 hr 30 min
Prep:
30 min
Cook:
3 hr
Yield:
2 rib racks, 6 to 8 servings
Level:
Easy
Total:
3 hr 30 min
Prep:
30 min
Cook:
3 hr
Yield:
2 rib racks, 6 to 8 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients

Rub: 
  • 3 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 racks St. Louis-cut pork ribs (about 4 1/2 pounds)
BBQ Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 slightly heaping tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. 

For the rub: Whisk together the paprika, salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, mustard and cayenne for the rub. Turn the rib racks bone-side-up and remove the thin membrane layer covering the ribs by lifting up a small corner with a paring knife and tugging it off. You can use a paper towel to secure your grip. Rub the spice mixture all over both racks. Place both racks, bone-side-up, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cover with foil and put in the oven. The meat should be tender enough to easily insert your knife into the ribs after 1 1/2 hours. 

As the ribs cook, make your BBQ sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, red pepper, allspice and cloves and cook, stirring, until the paste is dark brick red, about 3 minutes. Add the ketchup, 2 cups water, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, black pepper and bay leaf. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the flavors come together, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf before using. You should have about a quart of sauce. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of sauce for basting. Serve the remaining sauce on the side for dipping. 

After the ribs have been in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, remove the foil cover and brush the ribs with BBQ sauce. Cook uncovered until the meat is fork tender and comes off the bone easily, another 1 1/2 hours. While the ribs cook, keep basting and flipping them every half hour. Serve with reserved BBQ sauce on the side. Keep any leftover BBQ sauce in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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