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North Carolina-Style Ribs with Mop Sauce

I love a great rib dinner.  A lot of people are intimidated by making them for some reason.  Many recipes I have seen always involve smokers and chips, I mean who has one of those lying around.  They are actually quite easy with the right recipe.  There are so many layers of flavors in these ribs from the rub and the mop sauce that marry beautifully.  You can also cheat and use a store-bought sauce if you prefer save some time.  The slow par-roasting of these ribs keeps them tender and juicy and the grilling gives them that crunchy crust on the outside.  I like to serve these with some homemade potato salad, chile cornbread, plenty of napkins and an ice cold beer or some lemonade to wash it all down with.  To complete your all-American meal, throw in some cherry or apple pie for dessert.  My husband would like to point out that he was a part of the cooking process because he was the one who grilled up these bad boys for me.  He would also like to point out that they are so good, “they make you wanna slap yo mamma.”

Serves 4-6

North Carolina-Style Ribs

2 racks (3-4 lbs. each) pork ribs of choice
Jen’s Rib Rub
Jen’s Mop Sauce (divided)
2 foil-lined baking sheets
1.)  Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Rinse ribs and pat dry with a paper towel.  Place one rack on each of the foil-lined baking sheets.  Generously season each rack on both sides with Jen’s Rib Rub, using your hands to pat the seasoning into the meat.
2.)  Bake ribs for 2 hours, turning over after one hour.  While the ribs are cooking, begin making the Mop Sauce.  The ribs should just be pulling away from the bones.  Remove from oven and heat grill.  (Note:  If you don’t want to use your grill, you can keep them in the oven for 30-45 minutes more until cooked through.  If you are not using the grill, begin basting your ribs in mop sauce after 2 hours and continue basting every 10 minutes.)
3.)  When grill is hot, add ribs.  Baste ribs every 5 minutes, turning each time so they don’t burn.  They will cook about 20-30 minutes total.  Remove from grill to a serving platter.  Serve with remaining mop sauce.
Jen’s Rib Rub
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
1.)  Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Jen’s Mop Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lager-style beer
  • 1/8 cup chipotle chile powder
  • 1/8 cup ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • Few dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 chipotle chiles en adobo, chopped
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • Salt
1.)  In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until softened, 3 minutes.  Add ketchup, water and beer and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Continue to simmer until thickened 5 minutes more.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2.)  In a blender jar or food processor, puree sauce in batches until smooth.  Divide sauce into 2 bowls.  Half will be for basting and half will be for dipping/mopping.