Super Simple and Mouthwatering Ribs

You all know I live in Australia and grew up in Maine but I’ve never really talked about my family much other than my son’s southern bbq post. I have a younger brother Jim and an older sister Carole who both live in the States. Carole lives in Rhinebeck, New York, about 90 miles north of NYC and Jim can’t decide whether he wants to live on the East or West coast. He spends time on both coasts every year.

Jim BulgerJim used to work for the city of Vallejo in California (retired) and then he did some rescue boat captaining on San Francisco Bay for a while. Now I think he just has a good time.

Quite a few years ago John, his son Andrew, Andrew’s best friend Glenn and I went to the US for the boys’ first visit. We met Jim and within hours of arriving we were on a big houseboat on the California delta. The delta is between Sacramento and Stockton and is about 1000 miles of waterway. It was glorious.

Jim had arrived early and stocked the boat with food for a week, found all the maps and did everything he could to make John and the boys feel welcome. He even brought a BB gun for the boys to have a play with. The two Australian boys thought the gun was the best bit. They’d sit on the roof of the boat and take pot shots at leaves. John tried it and the BBs would roll out of the end of the gun and into the water. Yes, he’d click the trigger and plop – the BB would roll down the barrel and fall in the water to shrieks of laughter.  The kids made fun of him but he never did get a shot off properly.

houseboat on the California delta

While we were getting over jetlag, Jim also did the cooking. I should probably add that both my siblings and I are really good cooks. None of us cooked much growing up. Not sure if it was because my mother preferred to cook or thought we would make a big mess and not clean up after ourselves. (which is probably the case) We were keen observers and have had a love of food all our lives.

We slowly made our way down the waterway and at night there was much to-do about settling the boat for the night. The boat was both anchored and tied off to a rock on the shore and then we all went to bed. The boat was very spiffy and we slept like logs with not a lot of movement but enough to rock us to sleep.

I thought it was going to be a very leisurely time and brought books to read but I stayed busy the whole time. We were either cooking, or fishing or observing the amazing wildlife.  Jim’s never met a stranger so we chatted with the folks on every boat we passed.  “Catch anything?” he’d yell.

Then the last night on the delta, after a spectacular dinner prepared by our host, the boat was tied off and we all went to bed. I woke up about 6am and poked John and said, “Does the world look slanted to you?”

“Huh?” he said.  We were in the edge of the bed up against the wall, too!

banks of the California Delta“Look out the window, the world’s crooked.”

Sure enough, the boat anchor had slipped in the mud and we were hanging on the side of the delta and it was low tide. I went out to find Jim not very happy with himself and all I could do was convulse in laughter.

“All we can do is wait for high tide,” he said and he didn’t look happy.  So there you have the future Cap’n Jim stuck on the side of the delta.  Notice how steep that rocky shore is.  I’m still laughing as I type this after all these years.

Because we were nearly on our side, everything had fallen out of the refrigerator, some of the dishes had fallen on the floor and broken and Jim was beside himself. I tried my best to comfort him by laughing so hard I couldn’t speak.

It turns out that it was one of the best days of my life. Jim and I walked along the shoreline and talked for hours about life growing up in Maine and how our lives have evolved. It’s one of the most precious memories I have. It was certainly the highlight of that trip for me.

The tide came back, the boat was finally free and we headed back to the marina. Upon arrival Jim went to the boat office and explained what had happened and said we were happy to pay the damages and could they come and let us know. The manager said, “So many people end up like this and never say a word. I can’t thank you enough for being honest and it won’t cost you a cent.” Honesty pays.

When I asked Jim if he’d like to share a recipe with my readers he said, “I can’t make southern ribs like Alan but I’ve got a super simple rib method, I’m making them tonight and I’ll send some photos.”

Jim's Ribs

So let me introduce my brother Jim. He’s been back in California for a few weeks now and these are his super simple ribs, especially easy on a cold winter’s night.  He buys them at Costco or Sam’s – I can only hope that one day we’ll get a Costco close enough for me to drive to.  There are 3 in Australia so maybe Brisbane will be their next one.  Think happy thoughts for me that it will happen soon.

super simple bbq ribs
Jim uses a commercial rub or you can use your own.  I’m dying to try Chef Feiny’s rubs, they look amazing.  Anyone tried them yet?  They’re pretty new but Chef Adam Feinberg’s a winner in my book.  If I don’t have time to mix my own rub I use Artisse Butcher’s Rub here in Australia.

Once rubbed, he wraps the ribs up in foil following the curve of the bone.  “Don’t let the bones stick through the foil,” Jim warned.

Wrapping easy ribs in foil

Okay that’s not the best photo in the world but he sent it along to emphasize that you wrap with the curve and not across because the bones will poke through as the meat cooks.  If you follow the curve that won’t happen.

How to make easy bbq ribs

I didn’t miss that box of muffins from Costco in the background.  I think that was to make me envious.  I’ll go make my own.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Super Simple and Mouthwatering Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These are super simple and delicious
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 3 slabs of pork ribs
  • Dry rub (your favorite rub or one from the supermarket will do but make sure it has a LOT of garlic. I used garlic powder and Pappy's Cajun Spice today)
  • BBQ sauce (use your favorite)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C
  2. Cut each slab in half and sprinkle the dry rub over them.
  3. Cut 6 pieces of foil and wrap the ribs, following the contour of the bones so the bones won't poke through the foil. We don't want holes.
  4. Place the 6 packages in the oven for an hour.
  5. Remove from the oven and drain the packages and slather bbq sauce over the ribs
  6. Rewrap in foil and leave for 10-15 minutes for the sauce to soak in
  7. Slice and serve
I'd serve these with potato salad and cole slaw and maybe some bbq beans.

Fingers crossed that Jim and Carole will visit us in Australia this year.  I’m still thinking about Jim’s spinach salad with blue cheese and fresh cherries and Carole makes the best quiche I’ve ever eaten.  She might do a guest post recipe for me one day soon and my daughter-in-law Ming has been invited to do her famous spring rolls.

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  1. says

    What a great boat trip! Sounds like a very nice walk along the coast with your dear brother. A couple of years ago my sister and I (who I hadn’t seen in years), took a 12 hour road trip to visit our mom. We didn’t stop talking coming or going. It was such a memorable trip! Got to love those ribs! Definitely would be licking my fingers while eating those!

  2. says

    Oh yum ribs!

    I’m thinking about moving to Queensland in a couple of years time so a Brisbane Costco store would be fantastic. With three stores in Australia, it sort of doesn’t seem fair that two of them are in Melbourne! (not rubbing it in or anything! :p)

  3. says

    Ribs are something I’ve never been able to do at home. Tenderness is not a problem, they’ve always been fall of the bone tender (though I use a lower temperature when I bake mine), but the flavour has never been anything to brag about. I’ve used dry rubs and various bbq sauces … always been disappointed.

    • says

      That’s so sad. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked them that I didn’t have much left other than sauce all over my face and a pile of bones. :) I’m going to make Jim’s ribs tomorrow just not so many.

      • Agnes says

        I just discovered your blog today and I really like it! Here regarding ribs, I would like to share my way of baking. First I marinate my ribs for 3 hours in simple dry rub of salt, pepper and oregano. For some time now I make my own BBQ sauce. I bake my ribs basted from the moment they get to the oven. For 1 kg of pork ribs you will need: 1/2 can of tomato paste, 2 tbsp of brown sugar, 2 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp of hot pepper jelly (you may substitute with 1 tbsp of hot paprika and 2tbsp of red vine vinegar), 2 tbsp of sweet paprika, 2 crushed cloves of garlic or more, few spoons of olive oil and enough water to combine all for BBQ sauce consistency. Baste marinate all over the ribs (you may pre-cut them for ready-to-eat pieces), bake covered in 360F for 2 hours.
        These ribs always come out delicious and tender, pinky swear! Happy cooking :)

        • says

          Thanks heaps! The only bbq recipe I have on my blog so far is the slow smoked Southern BBQ from my son. Now I have a new way. Do you have a food blog I should be following?

          • Agnes says

            You are very welcome Maureen :) I don’t have a food blog (not yet at least:), but cooking and baking are my passions.. I’m always eager to try new things, new flavors .. my other ‘love’ is interior decorating :)

  4. says

    What a wonderful family time you had in Maine. I’m so glad you weren’t charged for owning up and being honest! What beautiful looking ribs. I love ribs and these look super-delicious. It’s so great to have recipes in the family xx

  5. says

    What a great story Maureen; I’ll bet the Internet had made the distance between you and your siblings manageable. I really don’t see my brother very often but I couldn’t imagine living on a different continent. I’ve always wanted to rent a house boat.
    Your brother sure makes some mean ribs! My favourite is a dry rub without all the sticky BBQ sauce.

  6. says

    Maureen, funny you should cover ribs here. I got for the first time beef ribs . Never cooked with them but I can use all your tips advice and recipe here. I would have never have thought to encase them in foil.:)

  7. says

    Loved your story. Being exboaters ourselves, we can identify with Jim being upset with himself for the boat hanging high and dry. The day turned out wonderful besides the little faux paux and that’s what’s important.

    These ribs sound wonderful. Being from southern USA, we LOVE ribs! We pay no attention to the season of the year when it comes to ribs…anytime is the right time! You are right, this sounds pretty darn easy. I’m getting hungry as I type. See ya later…off to the store to buy ribs!
    Lucy recently posted..Poached Pears With Chocolate Drizzle

  8. says

    First, let me say I love seeing comments on this post that are dated 12/2/12. It’s still 12/1/12 here!

    What a lovely story. My response would have been the same as yours: laugh hysterically. That’s my response to a whole bunch of situations. I’ve had to leave funerals and weddings because I couldn’t stop laughing. If something strikes me as funny, I can’t help but laugh regardless how inappropriate the circumstances. Just can’t help it.

    The ribs look lovely. You know how Southerners (US) love our bbq!

    I hope your family gets to visit you this soon. :)

  9. says

    “I tried my best to comfort him by laughing so hard I couldn’t speak.” You’re really a loving sis! I’d do the same to my sisters (and they to me). Really fun post. The recipe is good too, but I just enjoyed the tone, the info – just the whole thing. Exceptional stuff – thanks.
    kitchenriffs recently posted..The Aviation Cocktail

  10. says

    These ribs look fantastic. Ribs are one of my favourite pork cuts but I try to eat them as rarely as I can, otherwise I devour tons… I think it’s the first time I see bbq ribs in the oven, which is good news for me: I don’t even have a garden, so grilling on a real grill or bbq is out of question. I would however need to make my own rub and bbq sauce.
    Sissi recently posted..Drying Apples, Using a Radiator, an Oven or a Stove

  11. says

    That was funny Maureen. I have always wanted to rent a houseboat for one of our family vacations and would hope that we would have as much fun as you did. Jim’s ribs look mighty tasty!

  12. says

    Sounds like great family time. I have a Costco 20 minutes drive away, the meat is really good but I haven’t tried the ribs. I’ll check them out next time I go and try out this recipe. GG

  13. says

    Dear Maureen,

    That sounds like a great family outing. The one thing I love about the US is its casual / fast food culture and I don’t mean Maccas, KFC etc but awesome ribs like these, Buffalo wings, the whole gamut of hotdogs, rolls etc.

    I saw on TV one of the most famous ribs joints in the US where the ribs are steamed for about 30 minutes first to get it more tender and falling off the bone? I can’t wait to fire up the BBQ soon and these ribs are definitely on the cards!!

  14. says

    Maureen when I was younger we had a boat we used to take out on the weekends and my sister and my bed was in the nose so our feet were facing forward. One morning we woke up on top of each other and the exact same thing had happened.

    When dad went out to investigate we were high and dry on a sandbank. One of the other boaties around yelled out ‘just crack a tinnie mate!’ It was hilarious.

    I will most definitely try these for Will. We attempted ribs a few months ago on the BBQ and they were dreadful!!!
    Claire @ Claire K Creations recently posted..What’s under the tree? – Win a Lindt chocolate Christmas hamper

  15. says

    Sometimes all you can do is laugh, and that certainly sounds like a time for it :) Sounds like a wonderful trip and the ribs look absolutely delicious. Ribs are a big favorite of mine.

  16. says

    Maureen, what a funny story! I had to laugh, too. Isn’t it great when wonderful memories and special time together comes from mishaps we couldn’t have planned. (Also, refreshing when honesty really does pay off!)

  17. says

    Gotta love ribs! Doesn’t matter how they are cooked (just as long as they are tender) I’m in.

    Off topic – I was reading your post and watching the movie Zodiak while doing so. Found it amazingly coincidental that I was reading about your brother from Vallejo while watching a movie about a killer from there at the same time – oh dear me…. I knew you would appreciate this Maureen!
    Eileen recently posted..December’s Cookie of the Month

  18. says

    What a fun family adventure…there always has to be one incident per vacation with our family…if not more! Those glossy ribs look phenomenal! I will have to make them for my hubby :)

  19. says

    Hi Maureen!! *waves frantically*. How have you been since the conference? I keep wishing that we had more time to hang out during the weekend but it was so lovely to meet you and have breakfast with you on the first day, at least! You’ve got an awesome blog and I look forward to browsing through your recipe index for awesome food to cook. Starting with these ribs! Great choice for a guest post. Excuse me while I go over to grab a bucket to catch my drool

  20. says

    Hi Jim! It’s so nice to meet you, and your super simple ribs look delicious!!
    Maureen, I always love learning and reading about you and your family. This time the story was based on the Bay Area! It would be wonderful if you visit here…. 😉

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