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League Eats

The Best Easy Ribs

Look, we can fight until the off-season about which part of the country has the best ribs. And we like 'em all, from the mustard-based sauces in Panther-land to the dry-rubs in Texas, the smokey flavors of KC to the vinegar style in Tennessee.

What we'd rather do is cook up some of the easiest and best ribs ever and still leave you with time for a little two-hand touch before kickoff. The great thing is, you can do these at home or for tailgate grilling.

So do this:

1) Some time before game day, get to your local supermarket or butcher and find some baby back pork ribs. Not only do they taste great, but they are the easiest to eat one-handed, which helps when you're sitting on the couch with a paper plate while trying to balance a beer.

Ribs aren't cheap, so they can't be the only thing you serve for a big crowd. Assuming you and your friends aren't linebackers, figure 2-3 people per rack.

2) Cut the racks in half for easier handling on the grill and pile them into a large roasting pan, with the meaty side up. It's OK if some ribs are on top of each other, just so long as it's not ridiculously high. In that case, use more than one pan.

3) Tent the ribs with tin foil and wrap tightly around the edges of the pan so you've fully enclosed them. If you don't seal them in, they'll dry out.

4) Bake these babies at 275 degrees for a minimum of 3 hours. We recommend 4-5. The more racks, the longer you need to cook them. For every rack over 3, add 90 mins). Now go about your business; don't open the foil to look at them or anything. If you're tailgating, you obviously can't do this on game day. Just put them in the oven late the night before at 225 degrees instead, and take them out when you get up.

5) Leave them in the tented pan for the ride to the stadium if you're tailgating. Either way, about an hour before game time, or whenever you like to eat, fire up your grill and get it settled at medium heat.

6) When you take the foil off the baked ribs, they'll look gray, fatty and uglier than the original Bengals' uniforms. Fear not. Baste your babies on both sides with your favorite BBQ sauce. We're big fans of the Sweet Baby Ray's line of sauces, especially the regular flavor. But we know how fussy people are about their sauces (leave a comment below with your favorite store-bought brand, or send along a sauce recipe for the serious cooks.)

7) Grill these until you like how they look. The ribs have been fully cooked in the oven; you're just finishing them off to brown them up, burn off some fat and get them as crispy as you like. We usually do 15-20 mins. Start meaty side up, and remember that the stickier and more sugary the sauce, the more chance the meaty side of the ribs will stick to your grill. The ribs are very tender from the baking, and can fall apart. Don't try to turn them until they lift off the grill pretty easily (but don't let them them burn.) Baste with as much sauce as you like during the cooking process.

That's it. Be a good host and cut them apart for people and put them on a platter. And tell us what you think:

By Jonathan Krim  |  October 13, 2008; 8:57 AM ET  | Category:  Food Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

The sauce is an easy choice. Buy CATTLEMANS GOLD BBQ, by the gallon if you can.

Posted by: JIMMY | October 23, 2008 2:35 PM

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