*For the dry rub, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix, taking care to break up brown sugar. Store in container with tight lid.
*For the barbecue sauce, sauté bacon in a 4-quart stockpot until fat is rendered, removing bacon and saving for another use. Add onions and continue to cook until caramelized. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour on low heat, stirring often. Makes 3 quarts. Can be made in advance. Refrigerate for 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.
Coat ribs with dry rub and let stand for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Place ribs in baking dish and bake for 2 hours, turning occasionally. Heat grill to medium or prepare coals. Place ribs on grill, mopping with barbecue sauce until sauce has caramelized and ribs are tender and sizzling, being careful not to burn. Remove and serve with extra sauce.
Note: For smokier flavor, omit the oven step and prepare fire by banking coals to 1 side of the grill. Cook ribs wrapped in foil off the direct heat for two hours, adding coals as needed for a steady, even heat. (Or use top
rack on a gas grill.) Finish over heat as directed above.
Recipe by Chef/owner Nick Rabar, Avenue N American Kitchen, Rumford