Smoked or grilled meats bring out the best in Tempranillo. Oaky, smoky, dark and bold, Ribera Tempranillo is a wonderful pairing for a rack of ribs. Busting myths that ribs need to be slowly cooked in whole slabs over wood fire, this recipe is quick and simple enough for any weeknight dinner, and yet delicious enough that no one will know they weren’t slow-smoking all day long.
4 pounds baby back ribs
1 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
½ reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup honey
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Heat oven to 425°F. If there is a papery membrane on the bone side of your ribs, remove it by loosening with a butter knife and peeling it off, using a paper towel for grip. Cut the slabs of ribs into individual ribs. Season with salt and pepper.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and add ribs in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and bake for one hour (prepare sauce while ribs bake).
In a small saucepan, combine orange juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and paprika. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium (reduce heat further if necessary to keep from boiling over) and cook until reduced to syrup consistency, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
Remove ribs from oven and raise heat to 500°F. Uncover ribs and pour off any accumulated fat. Brush sauce generously on ribs, paying extra attention to the meaty side. Return to oven until the glaze is sticky and starting to char, 5-10 minutes.
WINE PAIRING: A Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero with some oak aging goes well with these subtly smoky ribs. Try Legaris Crianza, Cepa 21 “Horcajo,” Bodegas López Cristobal Roble Crianza or Bodegas Alvides Crianza.