One of my local stores had a fantastic Fourth of July special on Niman Ranch premium, pastured, baby back ribs ($4.00 off per pound!). I am (temporarily, I hope) allergic to tomatoes and peppers and a lot of other foods, so I was seeking a way to make a good barbecue sauce with lots of flavor and kick when I came up with this one. My husband loves this even better than my old version. I may never go back, even if I can.

There is no tomato in this tangy, sweet/hot, South Carolina-style barbecue sauce. Vinegar based sauces are thinner and should be applied more frequently. The sauce recipe makes enough for several batches, but it will keep for a month or two in the fridge. Try it for chicken and fish as well as ribs. 

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup melted butter or olive, avocado, or other high heat oil

6 tablespoons Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon Coutry Dijon has no carbs)

2 tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup or sugar substitute of choice to equal 2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or shake together in a large jar. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Sauce will keep for about 2 months.

Makes about 12 servings.
Per serving of 1/4 cup sauce: 
Calories: 74; Fat: 7.7g; Carbohydrate: 0.6g; Fiber: 0g, Protein: 0.1g; Net Carbohydrate: 0.6g

Allow 1 pound of baby back pork ribs as purchased per person. Cut the racks into two-rib portions before roasting, if desired. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Place in a roasting pan, concave side up; cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 325º F for 2 to 2 and ½ hours or until tender.

Remove the foil. Drain off the pan drippings. Brush the ribs with Mustard Vinegar Barbecue Sauce and continue to bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, turning and basting with more sauce every 10 minutes or so. Brush with sauce again and serve hot. (1 cup of sauce should be enough for 4 pounds of ribs.)

Per Serving for pork only (yield from 1 pound uncooked weight including bones):
Calories: 890; Fat: 75.7g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 50g; Carbohydrate: 0g

You may find several different names for pork ribs. Usually the ones labeled as “baby back ribs” come from the loin, and the name doesn’t refer to the age of the pig. This cut may, more accurately be labeled as “back loin ribs.”

Why doesn’t pork taste as good as it used to? Modern pigs from factory farms, “the other white meat,” are much leaner than old fashioned porkers. Some producers, like Niman Ranch, raise hogs in open pastures without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. Because the hogs live outdoors in the Midwest, they develop more fat for insulation from summer heat and winter cold, which promotes superior marbling, flavor, and tenderness.


(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker,

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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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7 years ago

This was amazing! I didn’t have any maple syrup or sugar free maple syrup so I substituted 2 tablespoons of salted caramel sugar-free coffee syrup it was incredible! Thanks for sharing this recipe.