I WANT MY BABY BACK! or Spiced Baby Back Ribs With Maple Syrup.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (11 of 12) I was going to title this piece “Curse you Canada and the moose you rode into town on”. But, that would be churlish of me. No, why should I damn an entire country because of my distress?  I just have to accept that youngest daughter has flown the parental nest and is making one for herself in a maple tree. 

She was home for a brief visit at Christmas and I did get to visit her for 24 hours while on a US and Canada business trip earlier in the month. I should be grateful. But, I can’t bring myself to let the check shirt wearing, ax swinging, forest living nation off the hook that easily. It’s as simple as this; “I WANT MY BABY BACK”.

And if I can’t have her home again, I suppose I had better just make some spiced baby back ribs and serve them with lashings of maple syrup. Maybe that will let me think more kindly about the country and the big bearded, soft-spoken giants that occupy it. If I’m going to think about youngest daughter while preparing this dish, I had better make it spicy, so I have a decent excuse for my eyes watering just a little bit.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (1 of 12)

Spice it up with seven kinds of tastiness. That will make your eyes water.

Ingredients for smoked spiced baby back ribs

  • 4 slabs of baby back (pork) ribs
  • 1.5 tablespoons of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
  • half a tablespoon of salt
  • half a tablespoon of garlic salt
  • half a tablespoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • half a tablespoon of cumin seeds

Put the fist six of the spice ingredients in a bowl. Dry fry the cumin seeds and then grind them in mortar. Add them to the others and stir to mix.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (2 of 12)

There is a lot of flavour in this bowl. The darker brown is the fried cumin seeds.

Next, comes the difficult bit (not as traumatic as having the kid emigrate but difficult all the same). Remove the sheet of membrane from inside the ribs. Do this by working a blunt knife between the membrane and a rib near the centre of the slab. Work it loose then pull with all your might until the membrane comes away. It’s easier to show than to tell so look a the photo below

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (3 of 12)

It’s tough work. But, not as tough as having your young ‘un buy a one way ticket to Canada.

Rub the ribs all over with the spice mix. In my case, a lot of the salt didn’t stick. This is probably a good thing.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (4 of 12)

That spice rub is looking almost the colour of the Canadian flag. Damn it!

Wrap the slabs in cling film and leave in the fridge overnight. The next bit will prevent any of you without a smoker from participating. However, you could just slow roast them in the oven instead. They won’t have the lovely smokey flavour but they will be delicious and tasty.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (5 of 12)

They look lovely going into the smoker.

Place the slabs in the smoker at 110ºC for 4 hours.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (7 of 12)

They look pretty damn tasty coming out too.

Paint the ribs with lashings of original Canadian maple syrup. This at least will shrink the distance between father and youngest daughter.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (1 of 1)

There is nothing more Canadian than Jakeman’s. Or so I hear….

The ribs will take a decent lick of this deliciousness.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (8 of 12)

Note the tinfoil. This to facilitate easy wrapping for the final stage of cooking.

Wrap the ribs and warm them in the oven. Prepare some chips (fries to you Canadians reading this). I made mine in the oven too. Divide the ribs and serve them with fries and additional maple syrup. They should be fantastically tasty (if you like pretty spicy). These had my eyes watering.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (10 of 12)

Note the Canadian shirt I used as a tablecloth. The tea towel was a present from daughter.

I do know that I can’t blame that great country of Canada for taking my daughter. Truth is I can’t and don’t blame anybody. I am delighted to see her making her way in the world.

Spiced smoked baby back ribs (12 of 12)Maybe, just maybe, she will see this post and might think of coming home to share a slab. Maybe? Boy, these are making my eyes water again…

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Latest comments
  • Ahh, you have a heart of the purest marshmallow, and being one of those children who buggered off to Foreign Parts, you have my deepest sympathy. Two days ago, I made pork ribs with a glaze of soy sauce, pomegranate molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, smoked paprika and a drop or two of liquid smoke (as I don’t have a smoker). We gnawed our bones with greasy chops and sticky fingers. I’m sure you were more restrained…. after all, the Canadians were watching.

    • I’m afraid restraint didn’t come into it Kate. I had the meat sweats for a day or so after. Four slabs for five people including my 85 year old Mum, who ate her share, saying that she now likes spicier food than she used to….

  • Those ribs look utterly delicious, I’d gnaw them down to the bone. So sorry you’re missing your daughter but as Canadians are possibly the nicest people in the world (forgive the wild generalisation) I’m sure she’ll be very happy there. And think of all the goodies you can bring back when you go to visit. 🙂

    • When I was over on my maiden visit, she brought me to Bulk Barn. A real treat for any cook. Any amount of any ingredient be it spice, flour, herb, nuts, seeds, sweets etc, etc. self service by weight. Wonderful place. (We went up the CN Tower too.)

      • Hmmn, wonder if they could be persuaded to open some stores over here? 🙂

        • I checked them out. There are franchise opportunities…..

  • Sure it was only the extra zingy spice rub that got in your eyes? A beautifully, sweet, savoury, delicious letter to a child who is obviously loved and missed and has been raised to confidently spread their wings. Nice work on all accounts Conor. (My children will always live with me though….right??)

    • It was definitely the spices that got the better of me Lisa. We men don’t cry. And yes, yours will never leave you. Right….

  • I think the world is divided into people who love to gnaw on bones and those who don’t. I definitely fall into the first category. The ribs sound fantastic. It’s hard when your kids move a long way away. Good excuse for travel…..

    • I am definitely a bone gnawer (?) too 🙂

    • Great excuse for travel. I used to not be a gnawer. Now, I believe in finishing off the bone with a lick, just to be sure I have got the lot!

  • Sounds scrum my! Ireland’s biggest export. Our kids.

    • This is sadly true. However, the world is a big place and there is plenty of room for them to grow outside this little island.

  • Looks wonderful – and the pigs go off to the abattoir in a week so who knows this could be on the menu pretty soon – don’t have the hot smoker thing set up properly though – can you do it with a basic stove-top hot smoker thingy?

    • I think you can if you adjust the timing and cook them in the oven or on a BBQ too. I have a stove top one too. It runs out of heat and smoke after about 20 minutes. However, mine does impart quite a smokey flavour in that time.
      Give it a whirl. What’s the worst that can happen?

  • I’m sitting and drooling in front of the screen! I don’t have a smoker so can’t make this, but will definitely have to go to a restaurant for some ribs… 🙂

    • As good a substitute plan as I can think of.

  • Looks savage. Luckily I gave my weber smokey mountain a spring clean at the end of February…. Definitely must try this with some oak or cherry wood.

    • Don’t mention cleaning the smoker. I have been taking the approach that layers of gunge amount to depth of flavour in the cooking.

  • Good ‘hook’ for this post, Conor. And mighty fine ribs as well. Good job on removing the membrane. I’ll have to try that next time I make beef short ribs. And I’ll have to ask my butcher about baby back ribs, as that is not a cut that I have ever heard of around here. (I had seen it mentioned online before.) I suppose I could smoke them briefly and finish cooking them sous-vide… Or even use smoked paprika?

    • The brief smoking could work very well with sous vide finishing. It would guarantee a nice smokey flavour and soft meat. Nothing wrong with that.

  • OK – Have to go Kate’s way as I do not have a smoker either . . .but my beloved smoked paprika and a wee bit of liquid smoke sound just fine! Just wish I could get my back ribs leaner: yours look reach-into-the screen-appetizing! With heaps of taste the way I love them!!! And hmmm, daddy – count your blessings . . . had your darling baby bought a one-way ticket a hundred years back there would not have been a plane or phone or computer or Skype or . . . . hugs may be kind’of scarce but all the more special when they do happen . . .

    • Yes Eha, you are are so right. We use FaceTime and it is the next best thing to having her in the room beside me. Then there’s Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook etc, etc.

  • I think you have made a fine tribute to your daughter’s recent emigration. I could probably say my daughter will emigrate to a different country next year, as she plans on attending the University of Texas at Austin, and of course you know that Texas is just a whole ‘nother country! I would not having some man sweats eating some fine ribs like this though! The spicier the better is my usual motto. Beautiful ribs and sauce, Conor. xo

    • Thanks Kathryn. I am delighted to see her so healthy and happy over there. We get to talk every week and that means a lot.

  • Where did you get the ribs Conor?
    I’ve looked all over South Dublin and haven’t been able to find them 🙁

    • Readily available in Lawlor’s in Rathmines and Fenelons in Stillorgan. Well worth cooking.

      • Thanks 👍

  • This all seems a bit arseways to me, Conor. I introduced my Dad to the wonderful pairing of pig and maple just a short while ago and now he keeps calling me for more regular chats about daily life and stuff. I know you feel like you lost your baby, but I reckon it’s not only this post that’s been well and truly hooked by your beloved émigré.

    • Sparling, you have a habit of making me see things in a different light and from an angle previously untried. This is an example of such behaviour. When I work out what you mean, I’ll get back to you.

      Something about your Dad eating pork ribs?….

      • As long as I knew what I meant when I wrote it, Conor, that’s all that matters, eh? As I always say, mystery is a handy smokescreen for being inarticulate (and then I mumble and wink at the same time)

        • You remind me of a very funny movie, Being There. Every time I think of Chancy Gardner, I have to laugh.

          • At last. Normally I just remind people they’ve left the immersion on.

  • I absolutely love your sense of humor…you had me laughing with the very first sentence. I know you must miss your daughter terribly but I’m sure it is the same with her. How in the world can she go without all of your delicious cooking? I have a smoker box for my grill so I’ll try and reproduce your great looking ribs…they won’t be quite the same but still good.

    • Thanks Karen,
      You are far too kind to me. Next time I’m visiting the young ‘un over in Canada, I might just head south, call in and say hello.

      • Oh I wish you would Conor, that would be a delight. 🙂

  • Well, at least you’ll never want for maple syrup. (Those look like delicious ribs, by the way.)

    • I have a big jug in the fridge. I need to use it and ask her to bring more over….

  • Oh my – yet another truly delicious Conor treat and certainly one, which only can be eaten with fingers!! JS loved your comment on “eyewatering spices” – he wanted to come over immediately and join you 🙂
    Re your “baby” – like most parents we too feel with you. Daughters are only a few hundred kilometers away in this country, but……..and as you said, thank goodness (for one) there is fb, whatsupp, twitter etc. etc. 🙂 🙂 Carina

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