Let me start with a bit of a disclaimer. Whenever I post meat things, I get a lot of feed unsubscribes. True, I eat a lot of vegetables and post many vegetarian & vegan dishes here – but I do love me some meat even though we don’t make it often. But give this a chance before hitting delete because this post includes a barbecue sauce that is finger licking delicious and just as tasty on a grilled vegetable skewer as it is on the ribs. It had my vegetarian friend’s stamp of approval and she wanted the recipe. So here you go and thank me later. I’ll be posting plenty of veg things soon, don’t worry.
About a month ago, we had a little party with more people than we had chairs for. But I wanted to make something special so that our friends wouldn’t be bothered by floor sitting while eating. The answer was barbecuing up some ribs. I should point out that my rib history is pretty non-existant. I’ve never ever made ribs in my life. When I was little my mom baked some pretty fantastic oven sweet and sour pineapple ribs, but she made them only twice because they were so fatty. And I’ve had some good rib eating experiences lately – like sharing a couple ribs in Kansas City at the famous Oklahoma Joe’s. But that’s about it for me and ribs.
I got the idea from Tracy at Shutterbean who recently made some balsamic ribs. Once I saw those, I decided to head out and buy a slab for myself. While I didn’t use her recipe, I definitely I picked a good one. There’s a few steps involved, but nothing a rib noob can’t handle. First, mix up a dry rub which gets smeared over the meat. The rub is full of spice, sweetness and heat, though you’re welcome to tweak it to your own tastes. It then gets a sit in the fridge for a few hours – I did 4 hours but overnight would be great.
While the ribs are being infused with goodness, I set about making the barbecue sauce. Vegetarians, listen up! It’s got a long list of items and I had to send my husband out to the store for hoisin sauce, but don’t skip out on the ingredients. It’s fantastic and probably the best barbecue sauce I’ve ever eaten. Sweet, sticky, tangy and a little bit spicy. The recipe makes a ton and that’s a good thing because once I tried it on the ribs, I tried it with pretty much everything I ate the next week: vegetable stir fries to baked chicken. And I still had enough leftover to freeze.
The ribs, all rubbed up get a go in a low and slow oven for nearly 2 hours. The ribs pictured above were baked in the oven a bit too long. I used the same length of time for 2 small racks as I did for 4 large ones. Regardless of how much fat melted away (you can see too much of the bones here), they were still ridiculously tender. After the oven, they got a quick grilling for those lovely looking grill marks – and to get crispy around the edges. I didn’t want to sauce these up while on the grill since I wanted the dry rub flavours to shine through. Cornelius ate them dry and loved them as is. I love sauce and liberally poured it all over.
My friends all exclaimed how amazing the ribs were and many said that they were the best ribs that they had ever eaten. I agree completely. These are some damn fine ribs.
elsewhere: At Poppytalk today check out my post for salt and vinegar potato salad – it’d be great with these ribs!
spicy southern-style dry rub
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 c sweet paprika
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c chili powder
1/4 c salt
1/4 c cracked black peppercorns
1 T powdered garlic
2 T cayenne
2 T ground cumin
1 t freshly ground nutmeg
Mix up the rub with a fork and then use your hands to cover your ribs throughly. Let them sit at least for an hour in the fridge, but the longer the better – overnight is best, but 4 hours worked well for me.
ina garten’s barbecue sauce
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/2 c onion, chopped (about 1 large onion)
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c canola oil
1 c ketchup
1 c cider vinegar
1/2 c honey
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c Worcestershire sauce (the vegetarian kind if you’re vegetarian)
1 c Dijon mustard
1/2 c soy sauce
1 c hoisin sauce
2 T chili powder
1 T ground cumin
1/2 T crushed red pepper flakes
In a medium sized saucepan, heat the garlic and onions in the oil until soft and fragrant, but not brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer 30 minutes until thick. Use immediately or store in the fridge. This freezes well. Makes 6 cups.
the main event: super tender grilled ribs
I purchased a big ol’ pack of ribs at Costco. I cut 3 ginormous slabs into 6 manageable-sized racks. I seasoned them all with the dry rub and then took the 2 smallest racks and froze them for later grilling since I didn’t need all of this meat all at once. If you’re cooking for a crowd, 1lb of meat per person is more than enough – I might even go less, but leftovers are certainly nice.
6-8 lbs baby back pork ribs, dry-rubbed (see rub recipe & notes above)
1/2 c ina garten’s barbecue sauce + additional sauce for serving
1/2 c water
Preheat oven to 300°F with rack in the middle.
Mix the water and the bbq sauce together and pour into 1 large roasting pan. The water sauce mix should cover the bottom of the pan. Place the rubbed ribs into the pan and tightly cover with foil. Bake ribs, switching the position of the pan halfway through, until meat is very tender, about 1 3/4 – 2 hours. Remove from oven and transfer ribs to a platter and let sit at least 15 minutes.
Preheat an outdoor grill for direct heat. Grill ribs for 3-4 minutes per side until grill marks appear. Cut down large racks into serving size bits – about 2-3 rib bones per serving. Serve with barbecue sauce for dipping. Serves 8 hungry people.