Skyline Ranch Baby Back Ribs
with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Skyline Ranch Baby Back Ribs with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce  

Skyline Guest Ranch is located near Telluride in one of the most beautiful settings in southwestern Colorado. The ranch started as a logging camp in the early 1900s. It was purchased in 1968 by Dave and Sherry Farney, who ran a summer mountaineering school there until 1983, when it became a guest ranch. To preserve the property, the Farneys have deeded future development rights to the Nature Conservancy.

In summer, horseback riding is the major activity at the ranch. Riders learn to establish a relationship with their mounts by studying herd behavior and learning to "think like a horse." During the summer, overnight horseback trips are arranged each week. There are also spring and fall four-day pack trips. Skyline caters to families but doesn't have a special children's program.

During the summer, the dining room is only for ranch guests. During the winter months, however, it is open to the public. The food at Skyline has a well-deserved reputation for being interesting and good. Former chef Gary Thut, whose recipes follow, has moved on to open a restaurant in a restored theater in the nearby town of Rico. His place at the Skyline Ranch has been filled by another talented chef, Joe Cobb, who is a specialist in cowboy Dutch-oven cooking.

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning salt
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced dried garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 slabs pork baby back ribs (about 1-1/2 pounds each), left whole but cracked between ribs, or 6 pounds beef ribs
  • 3 cups Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

In a small bowl, combine the pepper, seasoning salt, chili powder, garlic, and cayenne. Rub the ribs generously on both sides with this seasoning mixture. Place in a single layer of ribs on a wire rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cut the rib racks into 3 to 4 sections if your pan is not large enough for the whole slabs. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place on the middle rack in the oven. Turn on the oven to 250 degrees F and cook the ribs for 3 to 3-1/2 hours, until tender. Remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking. At this point the ribs can be refrigerated, wrapped in foil, for up to 24 hours.

When ready to finish the ribs, prepare charcoal for grilling, placing the grill rack 6 inches above the coals. When the coals are white-hot, brush the ribs on both sides with the barbecue sauce. Arrange the ribs on the hot grill rack. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until the ribs are lightly charred and well glazed, turning and basting with the sauce 2 to 3 times. Serve the ribs with additional warm sauce, cole slaw, and Sweet Green Chile Cornbread.

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 (28-ounce can crushed tomatoes)
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (See Note)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the tomatoes, molasses, onion, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, chipotles, garlic, allspice and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and pure the mixture ina food processor. Return to low heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for an additional 45 minutes or until the sauce is reduced to about 1 quart.

Makes 1 Quart

Note: Canned or jarred chipotles in adobo sauce can be found in specialty food stores or Latino markets. If not available, substitute 1 tablespoon bottled chile sauce or ketchup blended with 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce and 1 or 2 drops of liquid smoke.


Recipe from:
Spririt of the West: Cooking from Ranch House and Range
By Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs
Artisan, 1996
$35.00/224 pages/125 recipes/35 full-color photographs
ISBN: 1-885183-21-6
Recipe reprinted by permission.


Spirit of the West


Western Cookbook Round Up

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This page modified February 2007

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