Ribs, Lightened Up

This backyard classic can be tricky to make, messy to eat and tough on the waistline. We can’t do much about the mess, but can help out with everything else. Grab your napkins!

This backyard classic can be tricky to make, messy to eat and tough on the waistline. We can’t do much about the mess, but can help out with everything else. Grab your napkins!

Nutrition Facts

Order up a platter of baby backs at a restaurant and you’ll be downing over 1,000 calories and a staggering 70-plus grams of fat. Portion control must be emphasized no matter what and making your own is your best bet.

Ribs 101

Basic options for ribs are pork or beef. Both are flavorful and juicy when properly cooked, but pork tends to be the leaner option.

The most common cuts of pork ribs are baby back or spare ribs. While spare ribs are meatier, they’re also higher in fat and calories. They’re also oddly shaped which can make them harder to cook evenly. You will often see them sold trimmed “St. Louis Style” to make the rack of ribs easier to deal with.

Overall, baby backs win out as the lowest in fat and calories, plus they’re more tender and quick-cooking.

Tips for (more figure-friendly) juicy and tender ribs
  • Impart big flavor with a dry rub
  • Start cooking in the oven on low heat to render off some of the fat
  • Cook in a bit of apple juice for more flavor
  • Finish with a light basting of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Keep portions modest – 2 to 3 ribs per person
  • Serve with lots of yummy and healthy sides like pasta salad, roasted potatoes and grilled veggies
Sweet and Smoky Baby Back Ribs

Serves: 12
2 (3-pound) racks, bone-in baby back ribs
1 cup 100% apple juice
1 cup barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 225-degrees F. Place ribs on a double layer of aluminum foil. Rub on both sides with Fennel Mix. Wrap ribs in foil, leaving a small section open on the top. Place wrapped racks of ribs on a large sheet pan and transfer to the oven. Before closing the oven door, poor apple juice on the ribs through the opening in the foil. Cook for 2 hours. Remove ribs from foil and reserve ½ cup of the juices.

Preheat outdoor grill to medium. Mix reserved juices with barbecue sauce and set aside.

Grill ribs over indirect heat for 10 to 15 minutes per side. For the last 10 minutes of cooking baste with barbecue sauce. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition Info Per Serving (2 ribs)
Calories: 375
Total Fat:  14 grams
Saturated Fat:  3 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 5 grams
Sugars: 4 grams
Protein:  42 grams
Sodium:  537 milligrams
Cholesterol:  121 milligrams
Fiber:  0 gram
Keep Reading

Next Up

Top Holiday Recipes, Lightened Up: Paula’s Rib Roast

Paula’s Foolproof Standing Rib Roast is a holiday favorite. With only 4 ingredients, there’s not much more to the recipe than tossing this bad boy in the oven. Making this recipe healthier is also pretty simple.

Brownies, Lightened Up

I’m a brownie kind of girl—my friends and family can vouch for me. There are in fact ways to lighten up this delectable dessert. What’s the secret? Read on to find out.

Hearty Chili, Lightened Up

Yes, it's easy to load up your chili with calories and fat, but here are easy steps to make a pot for under 400 calories per serving.

Burgers, Lightened Up

Spring and summer are prime time for burgers. Whether you like beef, poultry or veggies, there’s a burger out there for you. Here are some fresh ways to build a lighter (but still delicious) burger.

Tiramisu, Lightened Up

In honor of Italian week, we’re lightening up this all-time favorite dessert. Find out how you can enjoy this delectable classic without all the guilt.

Pasta Salad, Lightened Up

Traditional pasta salad is swimming with hidden calories that’ll have you hiding from bathing suit season. Find out how to lighten up this summer classic and still keep your svelte shape.

Potato Soup, Lightened Up

Creamy potato soup can have anywhere from 300 to 500 calories and up to 35 grams of fat per serving! Our lightened-up versions taste even better than the cream-laden recipes, and since the main ingredients are potatoes, it won’t bust your budget.

Eggs Benedict, Lightened Up

Eggs Benedict is my all time favorite breakfast, but it can be a bit heavy. Here’s a traditional recipe with a few healthy twists.

Grilled Cheese, Lightened Up

Who doesn’t love the ooey-gooey goodness of a grilled cheese sandwich? You can enjoy the scrumptious combo of toasted bread and melted cheese without throwing your healthy eating plan out the window.

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.