Baked Cranberry-Chipotle Barbecue Ribs

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I know that ribs are typically considered summer fare, but I personally almost never cook them outdoors on a BBQ – preferring, instead, a low and slow indoor method.

My process combines a long simmer and a shorter blast of dry heat in the oven.

The reason I first cook my ribs in water is because much of the fat is rendered away, meaning the end result is much lighter and leaner – without sacrificing any of the richness in flavour. Plus, it makes them incredibly fall-off-the-bone tender.

Without this easy first step, I find ribs too heavy – not because I’m worried about the calories, but because more than a bite will actually make me feel ill. Such a delicate lady am I. (Burrrrrp.)

I brought home an abundance of cranberries from the market the other day, and I was struck with the inspiration to use them in a barbecue sauce. The tangy berries take the place of vinegar and make for a gorgeous, rich sauce, nuanced with spicy chipotle, ginger and cloves. Very autumn.

You’ll need little shame and a lot of napkins to devour these sticky-spicy ribs without utensils, but that’s how I recommend eating them!

I used the same method before with these Sticky Dry Garlic Ribs, which are another favourite.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger, packed
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1-3 teaspoons chipotle powder (equals 1-3 chipotles in adobo sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 2 racks pork back ribs, about 6 lbs total


  1. Cover ribs with water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until ribs are tender. Drain and arrange ribs meaty side up on foil-lined baking sheets.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, then add garlic and ginger; cook 1 minute more.
  3. Stir in cranberries, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, 1/2 cup of water and spices. Simmer until cranberries start to pop and mixture thickens a bit, about 10 minutes. Puree barbecue sauce using an immersion blender or by cautiously blending 1/3 at a time in a standing blender.
  4. Slather ribs with the sauce and bake at 325ºF for 45 minutes, or until ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and charred in spots (cover with foil if they are getting too dark).

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