The worlds best ribs are made with time. Yeah, time, maybe a little thyme too, but plenty of time.
There are three stages to this dish and none can be rushed. I like pork ribs done this way, although beef would be ok too. Figure a pound per person.
First the rub. The following might be enough for about 10 pounds of ribs.
Take a bulb of garlic, smash each clove with the side of a knife or cleaver, peel them and put a few in a mortar. Mash these to a pulp with coarse sea salt. Dont put this in a blender or food grinder; only a mortar and pestle give the right texture. Now add what ever seasonings you like. I lean to cayenne, paprika, fresh black pepper, onion powder, maybe some thyme, marjoram, and celery seed. A little jerk seasoning if its around wouldnt hurt either. (Do not put in sugar or tomato sauce. This will make the ribs burn.) Add just enough oil to make this into a paste. It should be moist but plentiful.
Massage this into the ribs. Stack them and wrap them loosely. Leave them in the fridge overnight.
Then the mop. Let the ribs come to room temperature and turn the oven to 250F. Stack the ribs on racks in the oven, fat side up. Leave lots of room for air to circulate. Put a drip pan underneath all the ribs but not directly on the floor of the oven. Turn the oven down to between 180 and 200 F. The ribs will cook for about 8 to 10 hours. Remember the wbr formula: long + slow = delicious.
Make the mop by cooking a finely chopped onion in a little butter. When the onion is cooked (but not starting to brown), add a half cup of water, a little Dijon mustard, a half cup of apple cider vinegar, and a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. If you want the ribs spicy throw in extra cayenne. Bring this to a boil and leave it on the side of the stove, at just barely a simmer. Add more water (or meat stock or chicken broth or whatever liquid is hanging around, as needed). Let the ribs cook for a couple of hours. Then start basting the meat with the mopping sauce every half hour or so. Turn the ribs occasionally.
Finally, the sauce In the last hour add a cup of canned tomatoes and a little of the drippings from the ribs. Add extra liquid if needed. Bring this to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper, maybe some more Dijon mustard and a little sugar or honey. The overall flavour should be a nice mix of sweet and sour. If it needs more sour add cider vinegar. Mix this in a food blender until it is smooth. Turn up the oven to about 225F and baste the ribs every 10 minutes starting a half hour before serving.
Take the ribs from the oven and leave them on warm platters. Remove as much fat as possible from the dripping pan. Deglaze the pan with a little beer or wine and add this to the sauce. Serve this on the side as a dipping sauce.