Cook the Book: Thyme-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

We've done french fries, chicken salad, and braised carrots so far from Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen. Today, I thought we'd offer something a little more meaty. And since these thyme-glazed baby back ribs looked so good, I thought they'd do the trick.

Cook the Book: Thyme-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4


  • 2 racks baby back ribs (about 2 pounds each)
  • 1/3 cup fine sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 1 large leek
  • 5 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons chile flakes
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 8 thyme sprigs, plus 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 2 cups 1-inch chunks onion (about 1/2 large)
  • 2 cups 1-inch chunks carrots (about 4 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1

    Cut each rack of ribs crosswise into 2 pieces, and place in a large stockpot. Add enough cold water to just cover, about 4 quarts. Add the salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As the water heats, skim off any foam that rises, and place it in a bowl. Once no more foam comes to the surface, strain contents of bowl through a fine-mesh strainer back into pot; discard scum remaining in strainer.

  2. 2

    Meanwhile, cut off the green portions of the leek (discard or reserve for another use) and the root end. Split the leek lengthwise; rinse under warm water to remove any dirt, and set aside. Place the star anise, chile flakes, peppercorns, and 4 of the thyme sprigs on a square of cheesecloth; tie into a bundle.

  3. 3

    Once there is no more foam in the stockpot, add spice bundle, leek, onions, carrots, 1 cup of the honey, and the vinegar to pot. Partially cover pot, and reduce heat to keep the liquid at just under a simmer; there should be only very light bubbling at edges of pot. Cook 45 minutes or until the meat is tender but not yet falling from bones. Remove pot from heat; cool ribs completely in the liquid.

  4. 4

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Remove meat from cooking liquid; drain on paper towels, discarding liquid. Scrape away and discard any silverskin remaining on underside of ribs. Dry ribs completely.

  5. 5

    Warm the remaining 1/2 cup honey in the microwave or on the stove until liquefied. Add cayenne pepper to taste. Brush both sides of ribs with half the honey; sprinkle with the thyme leaves, salt, and black pepper. Place ribs meaty side up on prepared baking sheet.

  6. 6

    Bake ribs about 30 minutes or until the tops are lightly caramelized and shiny.

  7. 7

    Serve a half rack per person or cut into individual ribs. Place ribs on a platter, brush with the remaining honey, and garnish with remaining thyme sprigs.

  8. 8

    Photograph courtesy Artisan Books


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