Recipe courtesy of Jan Birnbaum

Jan Birnbaum's New Orleans-Style Babyback Beer Ribs

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 3 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Spice Rub Mix:

4 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon toasted and ground cumin

1 tablespoon toasted and ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 tablespoon crumbled achiote


3 racks baby back pork ribs (about 5 pounds)

1 quart chicken stock

64 ounces beer

3 bay leaves


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 poblano chiles, seeded and chopped

3 medium onions, roughly cut

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 carrots, roughly chopped

2 sliced and seeded jalapeno chile peppers

Two 20-ounce cans Roma tomatoes

3/4 cups molasses

1 cup honey

One 2-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1 orange, peeled with pith removed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 cup lime juice


  1. Spice Rub Mix: Mix together all ingredients.
  2. Ribs: Preheat gas grill on low for 1/2 hour. If using charcoal, let the coals burn to embers, also about 1/2 hour after lighting.
  3. Cut the rib racks in half horizontally along the bone. Season the ribs with a 1/2 of the spice rub mix. In a large roasting pan, add chicken stock, beer, and the bay leaves. Lower the ribs into the liquid. Bring up to a simmer and poach the ribs for 15 minutes.
  4. Take the ribs out of the liquid and season them with the other 1/2 of the spice rub on both sides. While re-spicing the ribs, bring the liquid up to a boil over low heat to reduce.
  5. Take the ribs outside to the grill. The coals should be at the ember stage. Gas grills stay on low. Place ribs on the grill and cover to smoke for 2 hours. While ribs are cooking, the sauce can be finished.
  6. Add the olive oil to a large, preheated saute pan. Add the poblanos and onions, and saute for 5 or 6 minutes, until caramelized. Add the garlic, carrots, and jalapenos and saute another 3 minutes. Add the Roma tomatoes and let it simmer 20 minutes. Add the molasses, honey, and chipotle with adobo sauce. Add the orange, then salt and pepper. When the initial braising liquid has reduced by half, add this to the sauce mixture. Let everything simmer for 20 minutes, or pop in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Blend sauce mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in red wine vinegar and lime juice.
  8. Bring sauce to grill and brush on ribs for the last half hour of grilling.
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