Jose jr’s ribs

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Growing up in a kosher household, pork ribs were strictly off limits, except when eating at a Chinese restaurant. I don’t know why, but somehow a gathering of Talmudic Scholars had arranged a special dispensation allowing pork only in Chinese restaurants. Or at least that’s how my mother explained it. So I grew up with a love for forbidden ribs, but without the requisite knowledge of how they are made. Then one day I mentioned to my good friend Jose Jr. that I had no clue how to make ribs — did he? Well that night I was sampling some of the juiciest, moistest, most delectable ribs that I had ever had. Better yet, I no longer needed that special dispensation — I’ve cut my own deal.


  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 or 2 chipotle peppers
  • touch of mustard
  • a few dollops of ketchup
  • honey
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • chile powder
  • ginger powder
  • whatever looks good in the spice rack


  • large roasting pan
  • tongs
  • basting brush
  • large dish to transfer the ribs
  • large bowl
  • lots of napkins
  • dental floss


  1. Place your ribs bone-side down in a large pan. Fill the pan with water so that the ribs are completely covered. Empty 2 bottles of liquid smoke into the water and slide it in your oven.
  2. Cook at 350°F for 45 minutes.
  3. Clean and light your grill about 30 minutes before the ribs are due to come out of the oven or 15 minutes after you put them in. If you’re a charcoal kind of guy, distribute the coals in such a way that half of the shelf is covered with coals and the other half is clear of coals. You are going to glaze your ribs on the half that has no coals.
  4. Sex up your sauce! I like to work off of KC Masterpiece, but any sauce will do. The key is to mix to taste. Here’s how I do it. I pour ½ bottle of KC Masterpiece into a large bowl. Add a touch or two of mustard, a few healthy dollops of ketchup, a clove of crushed garlic, a healthy pour of chile powder, a healthy pour of honey and a dash or two of ginger powder.
  5. Crush your chipotle peppers in a mini prep if you have one or chop well with your chef’s knife. Chipotle tends to be medium spicy and the have a wonderful and rich smoky flavor that goes oh so perfectly with ribs. Add the crushed pepper to your sexed-up sauce and mix well.
  6. Here is the crucial step — Adjust to taste. If you like it spicy add another chipotle. If sweet’s your thing add some more honey. You’re the expert and short of adding cleaning fluid you can’t go wrong. If you feel it going awry add a little more mustard, which tends to act as a balancing agent.
  7. Using your tongs and a great deal of care remove your ribs from the water. Place in a large dish. This is best accomplished with an extra pair of hands to hold that heavy dish. Remove and excess water and with a liberal hand brush one side of the ribs with the sauce.
  8. Place the ribs on the grill and if your using charcoal put the meat on the side that has no coals. If you’ve got gas, turn the grill to low. Regardless of what type of grill you are using, what you are doing here is simply glazing the ribs with your sauce. That’s why we want the heat low.
  9. Slather the ribs with sauce — cover those puppies to seal in that finger-licking flavor. Close the grill and let sit. After fifteen minutes open the grill and flip those ribs. Slather again. Repeat and repeat and repeat until that succulent sauce is glazed on nice and thick.
  10. Remove from the grill, place them on a cutting board and using a chef’s knife to cut and a fork to guide your knife between the bones cut into individual ribs.

What you should know

Instead of lighter fluid, I recommend a charcoal chimney starter. Fill your container with coals, add a few pieces of crumbled paper and light the paper. Let the coals burn in the container for 20 minutes until they have turned white. Dump the container into the grill so that all the coals are pushed to one side.

Re: Jose jr’s ribs

You are so lost. So so lost. Liquid smoke? Come on!

Q needs wood. Wood makes smoke. And it needs the time to let that smoke seep in, and make a deep pink smoke ring that penetrates deep into the meat.

I hope you can find some good product, so you can taste what you are missing.

Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.

Re: Jose jr’s ribs

I have had the honour (and, trust me, it is an honour) to eat Andrew’s (or Jose’s) ribs. I feel compelled to reply to the above comment.

Sir, yes a ‘q’ needs wood but a gas-fired grill doesn’t. For the woodless among us, liquid smoke can offer a cheap (or, perhaps, ‘cheat’) alternative to a handful of hickory. In this particular case, the finished article works handsomely with the liquid variety.

Re: Jose jr’s ribs

Andrew and David: I am very confident this recipe is a great one. Afterall, Andrew knows what he’s doing in the kitchen. But I have to say, if you’re putting the ribs on the grill AFTER they are cooked in the oven, something is amiss. Done right, the meat should be falling off the bone, which means there is NO way you could pick them up to place on a grill.

What? Not falling off the bone? Cook ‘em long and slow and not too hot… Here’s my recipe: Melt-in-your-mouth Baby Back Ribs

The best: combine both recipes for a scrumptious meal!

Re: Jose jr’s ribs

Re: Jose jr’s ribs

I have to agree with the comments by my50cheeses. If you want smoke flavor, take the time to smoke them over real wood! Surely you can show the meat the dignity it deserves by allowing 30-60 minutes for a good smoke.

And I have to say, I remember the days growing up and eating water-soaked meat, but there’s just something terribly wrong with that. All that flavor, gone, dilluted, removed. (Unless it’s a soup or stew concoction.)

Keep the recipe parts about putting the ribs in the oven covered with foil, just don’t add water. Cook them long and slow and not too hot, like you know you should and they’ll melt…

No more short cuts

Oh my head hangs low. I’ve contacted Jose Jr. who taught me how to make these ribs and even he has disavowed liquid smoke! No more shortcuts for this cook.

If you want to do these ribs right — skip the liquid smoke — and once out of the oven smoke them over a smoldering pile of wood chips while you glaze. It will take a little longer, but the ribs will be even tastier.

Re: Jose jr’s ribs

My dearest 50cheeses:

You are absolutely correct, liquid smoke is passé and a no-no. Not only for taste reason but for health concerns as well. That being said, this recipe was developed as a college student in Boston many years ago. Seeing as I had already set off enough fire alarms during my dorm years the liquid smoke seemed like an adequate alternative to creating more problems by having a barbeque in my kitchen. Also, at the time the recipe was conceived the second part was to finish the ribs in the oven, not on the grill, but as I moved forward in life I moved into an apartment with a balcony that allowed gas grills but not charcoal, thus the change in part deux. As my career further progressed so did the recipe and alas no more liquid smoke. Thus my50cheese, I implore you to be gentle with your commentaries for their may be others also going through life’s natural progressions and learning in the process. Need I remind you that a good cheese takes time to make and set? And as we all know there is nothing more satisfying than a well aged hunk’o’cheese

Jose Jr.

Gourmand in the making

Re: Jose jr’s ribs