When I first met my husband (back in 2005) we were just teenagers. One of the things I loved most about our early years was going to his grandparents house to visit. His dad’s parents (Nonni and PapPap as we called them) were hard-working Italian immigrants who loved good food and family….especially when the two were combined! While there are many, many dishes they made that have become “famous” within the family, there is one that stands out above the rest: Nonni’s Rosemary Ribs.
Here’s a picture of Nonni and Papap on their wedding day.
These ribs are unlike anything I had ever tasted before. They’re not your typical sticky, saucy, tangy, BBQ style ribs. They are more rustic. More refined. More DELICIOUS! With crispy skin bursting with rosemary and garlic flavor (one of my favorite flavor combos!) and moist, tender meat inside, these ribs will make you seem like a gourmet cook. Oh, and did I mention that they are INSANELY easy to make?
Another added bonus: they make your house smell heavenly as they bake. Seriously. When I was making them the other night, I went outside with the kids, and I actually had a neighbor walk over into our yard to ask me what I was cooking because she could smell the scent wafting in the air. She said it smelled so good she didn’t want the dinner she was cooking anymore! True story. How’s that for #dinnerenvy! 😉
The list of ingredients is even shorter than the prep time.
- Baby back pork ribs (I usually make 2 racks/packages. One is just never enough!)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Dried rosemary (You can use fresh if you have it, I would just coarse chop it first. Biting into the long rosemary needles isn’t very appetizing.)
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Salt & Pepper
As you can see from my (admittedly awful) ingredients photo, I didn’t use expensive olive oil or fancy spices. Just whatever brand happened to be on my shelf at the moment. Also, I managed to score the ribs on sale! I rarely buy meat if it isn’t on sale. I scour the circulars prior to shopping and plan my meals according to whatever meat is the cheapest that week. IMO, no need to pay full price this week for something that is bound to be on sale soon!
Anyways, the initial prep for this dish is simple. Preheat your oven to 350 then cut your rib racks into 2-3 bone chunks.
Once they’re cut, pour on some olive oil to coat them. Not so much that they are swimming in it, but enough that they’re all covered and the spices will “stick” to them.
After the are nice and oily, it’s time to season them! Sprinkle one side of the ribs liberally with salt (I use coarse Kosher salt) and black pepper. Then dust them with the garlic powder and onion powder. Finally, cover them completely in rosemary. Then pat/rub it around a little bit (to make sure it all sticks) and flip them over to do the same thing to the other side.
I don’t have exact measurements for the spices; just use your judgement. If you want them a little more “garlic-y,” then add more garlic powder. If you like the heat of black pepper, then be generous with it. I will just caution, don’t go too skimpy with the salt, it really brings the flavor out of the meat! Other than that, you honestly can’t go wrong no matter how you season them.
Now that these bad boys are all seasoned, your work is pretty much done! Just place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and pop them into your preheated oven. You want to let them cook anywhere from 1.5-2 hours making sure you turn them every 20-30 minutes. Turning them ensures that they get nice and carmelized on both sides. As you reach the 1.5 hour mark, pay attention to the color of the ribs. You want them to be a nice and browned. It is OK if the bone tips are black (that is to be expected), but be careful not to let the ribs skin itself get black. Depending on your oven, you should reach the desired color/crispiness anywhere between 1.5-2 hours…you just have to keep an eye on them.
When they are all done, they should look something like this.
Don’t they look heavenly?!
And that’s it, folks! These are hands down the BEST ribs I have ever eaten…and the EASIEST ribs I’ve ever made. Just look how juicy they are when you tear into them!
All that’s left to do now is ENJOY! 😉
If you make them, let me know in the comments how they turned out!