BAKED BABY BACK PORK RIBS
According to Wikipedia, baby back ribs (or loin ribs) “are taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs, below the loin muscle. The designation baby indicates the cuts are from market-weight hogs (240 to 270 pounds), rather than adult hogs (500 to 650 pounds). They have meat between the bones and on top of the bones and are shorter, curved and sometimes meatier than spare ribs. The rack is shorter at one end, due to the natural tapering of a pig’s rib cage. The shortest bones are typically only about 3 inches and the longest is usually about 6 inches, depending on the size of the hog. A pig side has 15 to 16 ribs (depending on the breed), but usually two or three are left on the shoulder when it is separated from the loin. So, a rack of back ribs contains a minimum of 8 ribs (some may be trimmed if damaged), but can include up to 13 ribs, depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher. A typical commercial rack has 10 to 13 bones. If fewer than 10 bones are present, butchers call them cheater racks.”
The recipes that follow are easy; a slow roast in the oven with periodic basting. In many cases, the basting sauce also becomes the dipping sauce served alongside the ribs. To assure that the sauce is safe to eat, separate the basting sauce from the dip before there’s any contact with the raw pork. A brush used to spread sauce on the uncooked ribs can return to the sauce bowl with some things you won’t want to ingest raw, and the sauce, unlike the pork, will not be heated to the point that anything questionable would be killed. The safest way to proceed is to divide the sauce into two separate bowls, one for basting and one for serving, at the outset.