Years ago I discovered this copycat recipe of a famous Montreal ribs restaurant. Sweet, sticky, delicious, tender ribs that satisfy those rib cravings.Yes, this is a copycat recipe that I’ve unabashedly been making for years. And it’s delicious! The recipe is based on the mouth-watering famous Montreal baby back ribs recipe from a restaurant I used to go to when I lived in Montreal. My husband and friends who have eaten there agree that the ribs are pretty close to the original.
The recipe has two secret ingredients that are not too common for ribs – applesauce and cinnamon. A third, slightly more weird (and optional) ingredient, is pickle juice. Don’t worry – they all work really well.
The glaze takes a few minutes to put together and requires no cooking. It’s sweet and tangy and sticky with a unique flavour. It can easily be used on chicken too, including wings. Hmm – thinking out loud here, you could use it to toss with crispy oven-baked chicken wings. If you do, you might want to boil the glaze for a couple of minutes to thicken it a bit.
For this recipe, I like to parboil the ribs. I know some people swear that pre-baking the ribs is a better way to go. To be honest, I use both methods. If I have less time, I go for parboiling and they turn out great. Finish of the ribs with the glaze either on the grill or under the broiler.
Make Ahead Famous Montreal Back Ribs
- After parboiling, the ribs can be refrigerated, covered for a day or two. I suggest bringing the ribs to room temperature for an hour or so. The, to heat and add the sauce/glaze, either grill on medium heat or broil 10 inches from the heat source. This will give the ribs a chance to fully heat through.
Famous Montreal Back Ribs (Copycat Recipe)
- 2 large racks baby back ribs
- 1 onion cut in half
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp salt
- 4-5 peppercorns
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
- 1 cup pickle juice (optional)
Sauce/Glaze for Ribs
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp EACH: salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cinnamon
- PREPARE RIBS: Remove the silver skin on the back of the ribs by sliding the tip of a knife under the skin at the small end of the rack. Loosen the skin from the bone, then grab it with a paper towel and peel the skin off the entire rib. It should peel away in one large sheet. If it doesn't, try again. Cut each rib into 2-3 pieces.
- PARBOIL RIBS: Place ribs in a large pot. Add onion, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns, garlic and pickle juice if using. Fill pot with water to cover the ribs by one inch. Slowly bring ribs to a boil by heating the stove to medium-high. Skim the surface with a ladle. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour or until a knife easily pierces the meat. If you have time, let the meat sit in the water until the water cools. If not, remove the ribs and discard the water (or strain and reserve for soup). Note 1 for baking method.
- MAKE SAUCE/GLAZE: In a large bowl, mix all glaze ingredients well. Set aside 1/2 cup to pass as extra sauce. Add the ribs to the bowl and mix to coat well. To make the ribs ahead, at this point, you can refrigerate the ribs and continue to the next step the next day.
- GRILL OR BROIL THE RIBS: To broil: place ribs on a pan lined with foil and sprayed with oil. Baste the ribs with the sauce. Heat oven to broil, On a rack close to the heat, broil ribs for about 3 minutes on each side until bubbly and browned in spots. To grill: Heat grill to medium high. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, basting with extra sauce. Cut into serving portions and serve with additional marinade.
Here’s another rib recipe you might like:
Ribs with Peach Bourbon Sauce get the recipe