Monday, October 12, 2009

Ribs, succulent ribs!

One of my local grocers frequently has pork ribs on sale: spare ribs, baby back ribs, or country ribs. So I've become quite fond of trying to barbecue them.

I don't mean drenching them in sauce and grilling them at a high heat until they are done and dry. I mean long, slow cooking at relatively low temperatures for hours until they are tender and juicy and just everything ribs should be.

Most grills produce temperatures that are too high to do this, even at the lowest settings that still produce flame. But my oven at home works beautifully -- I can set it as low as 170°F (77°C) if I want. I can cook as low and slow as I want. If I remember to give the meat enough time to cook.

Pork Ribs
1 rack of pork spare ribs
1 tablespoon salt
Dry Rub
3 tablespoons powdered garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup barbeque sauce -- I use Jim Bean No 7
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup of water (1/2 cup of whiskey can be substituted for 1/2 cup of the water)

Rub the spare ribs with the salt on both sides. Let sit while you mix the dry rub. Once the dry rub is done, rub both sides of the ribs with 1/2 of the dry rub mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Heat the oven to 250°F (121°C). You can set the oven as low as 200°F but it will take much, much longer to cook. Remove the plastic wrap from the ribs and place in the oven on a baking sheet. You may want to set the ribs on a rack on the baking sheet to let the meat drain more effectively.

Flip over every two hours.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce with the remaining dry rub. After the ribs have been flipped for the second time, spoon about 1/4 of the sauce over the top of the ribs. Each time the ribs are flipped, spoon about 1/4 of the sauce over the new top surface.

Continue cooking until done, between 7 and 8 hours.

I cook the ribs for at least a half hour after I've put the last of the sauce on so the newest basting has time to thicken.

I will admit that I cheat using the commercial barbecue sauce as a base for my sauce. Mostly that's because I don't want to be chained to the stove cooking down the sauce for myself. I want to be able to focus on doing other things: sewing, painting, writing this blog...

The results of this slow roasting are wonderful. The sauce is nice and thick and not overly messy. It is also incredibly rich with a wonderful balance of tangy, sweet, and spicy. I don't like overly tomato-y barbecue sauces; I only want to use it as a jumping off point for my other flavors. Thinning the barbecue sauce with the soy sauce and Worchestershire sauce (and the whiskey) adds more savoriness to the sauce while the garlic, ginger, and cayenne tantalize the nose and tongue.


Karine said...

You used such a great combo of flavors for your ribs! They look amazing:)

Susan Wensel said...

Thank you. Like I said, I'm not a fan of overly tomato-y barbecue sauces; I prefer the overwhelmingly savory. Growing up, I always thought of barbecue as a sticky, tomato-based meat sauce. Then my partnet introduced me to Tennessee barbecue. While I haven't been able to reproduce that, I've found something I'm very, very pleased with.