July 5, 2012

Sticky Balsamic Ribs

While I was letting these ribs sit in the fridge to marinate, I got it in my head to invite some friends over for dinner. Casey panicked and interrupted my phone call with, “What are you gonna feed them for dinner??!” As in…he didn’t want me to share his ribs with anyone. I thought it was cute.

He was lucky they didn’t pick up the phone. But really…I was the lucky one. I randomly made a batch of taquitos a few hours before dinner  just so I could fill  him up and eat more ribs. I’m selfish/smart like that.

There’s no shame.

These Sticky Balsamic Ribs are fantastically tender, sticky tangy, sweet, easy to make & eat…everything ribs should be!

Sharing is optional.


And we’re off!

Ingredient gathering tiiiiime. We’re making the rub first.

Bash garlic and salt with a mortar & pestle.

Add in the cayenne, brown sugar & pepper.

Don’t forget the rosemary. I almost did!

Now rub it all over the ribs & both sides. Wrap it up and let it have some time in the fridge.

As many hours as you have time for!

Put the ribs in a deep baking dish. Add water. Roast in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Now it’s sticky balsamic glaze time. All this goes into a pot. Reduce!

When the ribs are done in the oven, rub that glaze all over.

Grill! Keep basting the ribs with the glaze.

Real life application!  Tomato salad, grilled corn & Dijon Potato Salad.

Summer living!

Sticky Balsamic Ribs

serves 3 (if someone isn’t a glutton)

recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine

For the ribs:

  •  4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  •  1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1.5-2 pounds baby back pork ribs
  • 1 cup water

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar


Marinate and roast ribs:

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir together with rosemary, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Rub evenly all over ribs and transfer to roasting pans. Marinate, chilled, 8 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in the middle.

Pour 1/2 cup water into the roasting pan and tightly cover pans with foil. Roast ribs, switching position of pans halfway through, until meat is very tender, about 1 3/4 hours. Remove pans from oven and transfer ribs to a platter.

Make glaze and grill ribs:
Add 1/2  cup hot water to each roasting pan and scrape up brown bits. Skim off and discard fat, then transfer liquid to a 10-inch skillet. Add vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas)

Brush some of glaze onto both sides of racks of ribs. Grill, turning occasionally, until ribs are hot and grill marks appear, about 6 minutes.

Brush ribs with more glaze and serve remaining glaze on the side.

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  • Kathryn

    That’s a great glaze, these sound really flavourful. I don’t think I would be able to share them either…

  • Diane

    Grill-less, I will have to settle for crisping them under the broiler. This is some serious man-bait action right here.

  • Clara

    Adorable! Casey seems like such a sweetie. My boyfriend loves ribs and I really owe it to him to make them. I always think of them as being so difficult to prepare, but this really seems quite easy! Thanks, Tracey!

  • Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen

    I’m with Casey…I don’t think I’d want to share these either!

  • Kate

    Being that it was a holiday yesterday, I felt the need for a potato salad, but not just A potato salad, I wanted one that turned a page on the old stand-by and happened across your Dijon version.

    And thank you. Craving satisfied. So simple. Perfect.

    • Tracy

      Fantastic! I made it this past week and added red onions. It was even better!

  • Anna

    Oh. YUM!

    Thank you for sharing this! I REALLY. REALLY. REALLY. need to work on my meat skills, so this recipe is much appreciated.

    I so enjoy your blog, your photos always have beautiful light.

    I am a huge podcast listener and frequent your blog often. Thanks for bringing joy into my life several times a week.

    Have a wonderful Thursday :) Love, Anna

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  • kickpleat

    Oooh, I’ve never made ribs before and now we have a bbq! This looks like a must do. And what the heck are taquitos? I’ll have to google that.

    • Tracy

      Whaaaaaat!!!???? You haven’t made ribs??! You haven’t lived, girl!!! Put it on your summer bucket list!

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  • Holly

    Haven’t used the grill yet this summer, so this has to be the first thing I make. Can’t wait!

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  • Erin @ The Speckled Palate

    Yum. These look absolutely FABULOUS, and I’m definitely going to have to whip some up soon… especially since we’re huge rib fans in our house. So, of course, this recipe would maybe just feed my husband and me. Because we’re cool/gluttonous like that…

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  • biobabbler

    Man, your timing is PERFECT. My husband & I are currently obsessed w/ribs so wanna’ learn to make them at home. SO trying this, and balsamic vinegar is GENIUS. Thanks!!

    p.s. your cooking inspires me so much–I really really need to cook more frequently and mix things up, like you are SO good at doing. Thanks for setting the bar. =)
    p.p.s. am in love w/b&w, b&w polka dots and b&w stripes, so of course I LOVE the things you shoot. Yay!

    • Tracy

      Thank you so much for your nice comment!! Ribs are soo easy to make. They also will score you MAJOR points with husbands. That’s a fact. Shake things up! It makes like more interesting :)

  • Erica

    Tracy! I made these this week and it was love at first bite!!! I was a *little* concerned when the flames started shooting up on the grill…but it all worked out! boom, Boom, POW! http://notquitegourmet.com/2012/07/11/sticky-situations/

  • Devra

    Hi Tracy! I’m so excited to make this recipe but I have a question first. Did you use baby back ribs or spare ribs?

  • Tara

    Just made these tonight and could have drank the glaze on its own.

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  • Tiffany

    May I ask what the font you used in the pictures is? Haha!
    Also, I’m going to try these tonight! Thanks [: They look too good to be true.

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  • Norma Chang

    Balsamic vinegar, one of my favorite vinegars. I just know I am going to love these ribs.

  • Tyler

    I have made these a few times. I pretty much follow the recipe, except I cook at 180-225 for 4-6 hours.

    I can 100% identify with Casey on the sharing dilemma. You see, I have full on rib *portion anxiety so sharing is only an option if the rib to person ratio is gluttonously healthy. I would much prefer rib day to be a solo venture… 6 hours of anticipation well rewarded.

    In any event, thank you for sharing this recipe. If last supper was a week long, this would make the menu

    *Also occurs with pizza

  • Shala

    Ok , I die. Ive been browsing your website for over an hour..bookmarking recipes I wanna make..but when i saw these babies i almost cried. ( Im 22 weeks pregnant and my son LOVES anything on the bbq at the moment..cravings lol) I know that i have to make these..and although it is no where near summer yet, i will pretend , fire up the grill and chow down!!

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  • Kelsey

    The heat in Arizona is unbelievable already and I am avoiding the oven at all costs. Do you think a slow-cooker would work to cook before transferring the ribs to the grill?

    • Tracy

      You should be able to do it! I haven’t done it before but I know there are tons of recipes online that will help.

  • Kyn.Cooks

    These ribs were AWESOMEEEEEEE! I just finished my plate and felt compelled to comment lol. These were sweet, sticky, and INSANELY tender! I made a huge mistake and allowed my sauce to burn (I accidentally turned by burner to high instead of off in my haste to take something else off my grill *smack self on forehead*)but I did redeem myself and made a BBQ balsamic glaze with other pantry items. I didn’t have all of those lovely pan drippings but still delicious. Thank you for sharing!!!!

    • Tracy

      oh boo! That totally happens but it’s awesome that you figured it out!! Proud of you!

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