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Jim’s Secret Family Recipe Ribs

For more than 30 years, my brother-in-law Jim kept his famous rib recipe a secret. When he finally shared it, we just had to pass it along because we loved it so much. This one's for you, Jim! —Vicki Young, Brighton, Colorado
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + chilling Cook: 3 hours 10 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 2 racks pork baby back ribs (about 5 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 liter lemon-lime soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple or orange juice, optional
  • 1/2 cup sugar or packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey mustard
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce of choice
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons white vinegar


  • Brush ribs with soy sauce. Combine oregano, onion powder and garlic powder; rub over both sides of ribs. Transfer to a large shallow roasting pan; refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 225°. Add lemon-lime soda and, if desired, juice to roasting pan (do not pour over ribs). Bake, covered, until tender, about 3 hours.
  • Meanwhile, make barbecue sauce by dissolving sugar in hot water; combine with remaining ingredients, thinning with additional lemon-lime soda or juice if necessary. Reserve 1 cup for serving.
  • Remove ribs from oven; discard juices. Brush both sides with barbecue sauce. Grill ribs, covered, on a greased grill rack over low direct heat, turning and brushing occasionally with remaining sauce, until heated through, about 10 minutes. Cut into serving-size pieces; serve with reserved sauce.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 483 calories, 27g fat (10g saturated fat), 102mg cholesterol, 1107mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 1g fiber), 30g protein.


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Average Rating:
  • Lidialipstick
    Jan 4, 2021

    I do not have an outside grill. How can I complete this recipe without grilling?

  • Susan
    Jul 14, 2020

    This was my first time to make ribs and they were great! Only problem was my fault, I cut the one of the ribs to fit into my pan (I had to use 2 pans) and the one I cut was over cooked... but the other one was fall off the bone, so juicy and sooo good! Thanks Jim (and Vicki)!

  • John
    Jun 18, 2020

    No comment left

  • kklotz
    May 23, 2020

    Followed advice of other reviewers and cut the oregano in half. Awesome ribs! My roommate even had seconds! She never does!

  • Lynette
    Apr 20, 2020

    These were so easy to make. I loved grilling them at the end for the smokey flavor you get from a charcoal grill. I felt the oregano was a little strong......I think I'd reduce that in the future. Very yummy recipe.

  • LegalSec
    May 20, 2019

    One word, DELICIOUS! Two things, I didn't have any fruit juice so I didn't use and I swapped out the oregano for thyme. I used to boil ribs first then bake, but never again. Low and slow in the oven is the way to go. Thanks for sharing Jim's secret recipe. Hats off to Jim!!

  • Henry T
    May 14, 2019

    No comment left

  • justmbeth
    Mar 25, 2018

    Tender, tender ribs! Flavor was good but the oregano seemed to be a bit overpowering. I think I will try a more traditional rib rub but keep all other steps and ingredients the same.

  • katieleigh3508
    Sep 5, 2017

    This was my first time making ribs and even though I "messed up" (bought spareribs and only marinaded for four hours instead of overnight) they turned out fantastic. Can't wait to make them again the right way!

  • danid
    Jul 20, 2017

    My family thought they were the best ribs they ever had! Great recipe and definetly a keeper!