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overhead shot of ribs on parchment paper with a small bowl of applesauce

Applesauce Glazed Oven Ribs

Rebecca Eisenberg
These oven baked ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender with a shiny red-brown applesauce glaze that is the best parts of sweet, tart, and tangy with lots of blackened crispy edges. Baking them in the oven is so simple and hands off, they basically cook themselves. And who doesn't want that?
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 racks of ribs

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • cup dijon mustard
  • 2 small crisp apples (gala, fuji, or honeycrisp // or ½ cup applesauce)
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely minced or grated)
  • 1 small-to-medium shallot (finely minced or grated)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt & pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 300°F with one rack in the middle setting and another on the topmost setting right under the broiler. If your broiler is under the oven, just use the middle oven rack.
  • Peel the apples and cut them into large chunks. Puree the apples in a small food processor or blender until smooth to make applesauce.
  • In a small sauce pot off heat, combine ½ cup applesauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, minced garlic and shallot, worcestershire sauce, paprika, and ginger. Whisk well. In a small bowl whisk together corn starch and water, then whisk that into the pot as well. Don't worry about being super precise with the applesauce measurement if you have slightly more or less than ½ cup that's fine.
  • Remove the ribs from their packaging and pat dry on both sides. Cut each rack in half so that you have four sections of ribs total. Flip the racks over so the bone side is facing up. Make two slashes down the backs of the ribs, cutting across the bones. Use just enough pressure to slice the thin membrane so it doesn't tighten up in the oven.
  • Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, wrapping the foil around the edges so that it's secure.
  • Working with one section of ribs at a time, place the ribs on top of a fresh sheet of aluminum foil and generously salt and pepper each side. Then brush both sides of the ribs generously with the glaze. You should have about half of the glaze mixture left after doing all four rib sectons. Do not throw it out! You'll need it.
  • Fold the top aluminum foil around the ribs to make a tightly sealed packet (see blog post for visuals!). Repeat with the rest of the ribs until you have four foil packets of ribs. You may want to double wrap each packet if you're worried about them leaking in the oven.
  • Arrange the foil packets on the lined sheet pan and place in the 300°F oven for 3 hours.
  • During the last 30 minutes of cooking, place the pot with the glaze back on the stove over a low-medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently as it reduces and thickens. Adjust the heat as needed so it doesn't burn. This step kills off any harmful bacteria from when you brushed the glaze onto the uncooked meat. Make sure you wash the brush before using it again. You can do this step right after the ribs go into the oven. Just set it aside once it reduces and thickens.
  • When the ribs are done, carefully remove them from their foil packets. There will be steam and juices in the packets that are very hot so you may want to do this over the sink. The ribs will be fully cooked and very tender but also kind of grey and ugly looking. That's all about to change.
  • Turn on your oven's broiler. While you wait for it to heat up, place the ribs back on the foil-lined sheet pan. Use a clean silicone basting brush to brush both sides of the ribs with the thickened applesauce glaze. Be generous here — use up all the remaining glaze. Arrange the ribs so the meaty top part is facing up.
  • Once the broiler is hot, slide the sheet pan onto the top rack of the oven for about 5-6 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through. The ribs are already fully cooked, so this is just about getting them blackened and a little charred, caramelizing the sugars in the glaze. You can leave them in for up to 8 or even 10 minutes to achieve your desired level of char. Serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES

  • Mixing the applesauce glaze in the pot off heat is to save you from doing extra dishes. You'll need to reduce it anyway. Might as well mix it in the pot!
  • Reducing the glaze after the ribs go in the oven doesn't just help thicken it — it also kills any harmful raw pork bacteria from when you first brushed the sauce onto the ribs and makes it safe to eat again.
  • Make sure you wash your silicone brush after the ribs go into the oven so you don't contaminate the reduced glaze. 

YOUR NOTES

Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me how it was!