Dry Heat and a Little Bit Sweet

Lately I’ve really been on an exercise kick. I’ve never really been diligent about going to the gym in the past, so it’s very exciting that I found some classes that I really enjoy. I would have imagined that when I started working out so rigorously, my eating habits would follow suit, chocolate turning into an apple, etc. Miraculously enough, this did not happen. So I’ve decided to put one foot in front of the other on my path towards healthier eating.

However, like anyone trying to kick a bad habit, I chose to indulge one more time. For my last hurrah I dug way down to my southern roots (of which I have none) and decided to make baby back ribs.

I quickly realized that although I’ve consumed ribs on many occasions I’d never made them. Instead of searching through dozens of recipes, I chose to wing it. I definitely took a few short cuts (when you only have an hour to cook, making your own barbeque sauce isn’t always an option), but this dish came out so well I will be making it again! My boyfriend even said they were some of the best ribs he’d ever had, so I hope you think so too!

I chose to serve the ribs with stovetop baked beans and a sautéed kale and fresh apple salad. Although I’ve separated the recipes for these items, the beans and salad should be prepared while the ribs are in the oven. To give your ribs even more flavor, apply the dry rub to your ribs the night before or in the morning and leave them in the refrigerator, covered, until it’s time to cook them.

Baby Back Ribs with Baked Beans & Kale and Apple Salad

Baby Back Ribs with Baked Beans & Kale and Apple Salad

Baby Back Ribs with Baked Beans and Kale & Apple Salad

Serving Size: 2

Total Time: 1 Hour, 15 minutes

Difficulty: Fairly Easy (involves some multitasking)


–       2 large bowls

–       a sheet pan

–       a medium sauté pan

–       a medium saucepan

–       tongs

Baby Back Ribs 


4 baby back ribs, seperated

2 tsp maple sugar (or brown sugar)

½ tsp ancho chili powder

½ tsp paprika

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp cayenne powder

½ tsp lemon pepper

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground thyme

¼ tsp dried rosemary

¼ cup BBQ Sauce

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Pat the ribs dry and then cover them with the dry rub. Massage the rub into the ribs to make sure that they are completely saturated. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for a few hours. Preheat oven to 305. Bake, covered in tin foil, for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in bbq sauce, increase oven temperature to 400 (and convection if your oven has the option) and bake, uncovered for another 15 minutes. The ribs should be tacky and brown once done and the meat should be easy to bite off the bone.

Stovetop “Baked” Beans


–       1 can kidney beans

–       4 slices of bacon, chopped

–       1 tbs cider vinegar

–       1 tbs maple sugar

–       ¼ cup water

–       2 tbs bbq sauce

–       salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in your saucepan on medium low heat until crispy. Add beans and mix. Add vinegar, stirring so the beans are evenly coated. Cook, covered, over low heat for 10 minutes. Add water and increase heat. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and add bbq sauce, stirring. Cook, covered, for 5 more minutes. If you’re beans are ready before your ribs, keep them on the stove over the lowest heat possible, covered, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Sautéed Kale & Fresh Apple Salad


–       1 bunch lacinato kale, cleaned, ribs removed, rough chopped

–       1 granny smith apple, julienned

–       juice of one lemon

–       1 tsp olive oil

–       salt & pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in your sauté pan. Once the oil is hot, add the kale. If there is any water left in the kale, it will pop out of the pan and could hit you and cause a burn, so make sure your kale is as dry as possible before adding it to your pan. Cook the kale until it has turned bright green and has an even sheen. Remove the kale from the pan with your tongs and place it a bowl. While the kale is still hot, toss it in the lemon juice, salt & pepper. Add the apple just before serving so it doesn’t brown and get warm.


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