Grills in California never go into storage, but cooking starts moving indoors as the weather cools. Spareribs, typically reserved for the barbecue season, become succulent and tremendously flavorful as they roast in the oven.
Making these chipotle ribs is a two-step process, but it’s fairly hands-off for the cook. First, the ribs are browned, sealing in their juices, then generously brushed with chipotle barbecue sauce for yet another flavor layer. Creating a chipotle barbecue sauce from a bottled sauce is a nice shortcut. Be sure to taste the bottled sauce before adding any sugar or lemon juice as noted in the recipe.
Baby backs are popular because their meat is tender. They’re from the upper part of the rib section of the loin. They’re typically leaner than spareribs, which come from the belly of the pig. You can also use this recipe for an appetizer; baby backs are popular party nibbles.
The two do-ahead side dishes--Texas rice and baked zucchini and spinach--can be reheated in the oven with the ribs. The rice has zip and variety that holds up to the ribs, while the vegetables are deliberately subtle.
For a meal with this much flavor, you’ll just need some simple accompaniments. Try warmed corn or flour tortillas and chilled Mexican beer.