Sunday, August 2, 2015

Foolproof Ribs with Barbecue Sauce

What I have learned recently:

  • The heat is bearable when you remember how bad the winter was.
  • There is nothing better than cooking in your own kitchen.  With the air conditioning blasting.  Just don't forget to shut your heat off.
  • If you find a dog you want on social media, you have to move quickly or she will end up in an equally as wonderful home.  Just saying.
  • It's nice to know I'm not alone going through bad stuff.  Other people, good people, have lived to tell the tale.
  • I can still have fun. I can even go to bars (!) with great friends.
  • When making ribs, they should probably take all day cooking low and slow.  But if you want a shortcut, read on.
I was intrigued by a rib shortcut.  Kenzie has a strange obsession with them (in fact she is currently at Fireflies in Marlborough, eating them as I type), but during the hot days of summer, I don't feel like keeping the oven going for hours and hours.  I am always interested in make-ahead recipes, and anything done by Ina Garten, so when I saw this recipe in my Food Network Magazine, I tried it out on the barbecue day I mentioned in my last post.

So what's the shortcut?  Bake them for about 2 hours, and then finish them off on the grill.  That way you get tender ribs, but still get the flavor and grill marks.  Even better is the barbecue sauce, which might be the best recipe I have made so far.  I think I spotted Nick dunking bread in it for days.  Even if you aren't a ran of ribs (ditto), at least make the sauce.  It's a really complex sauce with lots going on.  There's everything from hoisin sauce to honey in there.  Flavor explosion.

The make-ahead part of this recipe is great because you can make the sauce early, and you can even roast the ribs ahead of time too.  This is a recipe that if you wanted, could be spread over 3 days.  It would be perfect for a little barbecue party; all you have to do that day is throw the ribs on the grill for 10 minutes!

The ribs were not as tender as I had wanted, to be honest, but I think I could have left them in the oven for a bit longer.  You are supposed to roast them until they are falling off the bone, and I think I might have jumped the gun.  As far as meats go, this was a mostly painless recipe with minimal touching and cutting, so it's certainly worth another try!


foolproof ribs with barbecue sauce
from Ina Garten in the summer 2015 Food Network Magazine

for ribs:
5 pounds Danish baby back ribs (4 racks) or St. Louis ribs (2 racks)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
for barbecue sauce (makes 1 1/2 quarts):
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 cup (10 ounces) tomato paste
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup (8 ounces) hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin


1) Make the sauce first: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat.  Add the onions and cook for 10 - 15 minutes until the onions are translucent but not browned.  Add that garlic and cook for one more minute.  Add the tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin and pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Use immediately or pour into a container and refrigerate for several weeks.

2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

3) ) Place the ribs on the sheet pan meat-side up and sprinkle them with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Pour the barbecue sauce generously on each rack and cover the ribs loosely with aluminum foil,  Bake for 1 1/2 hours for baby backs and 1 3/4 hours for St. Louis ribs, until the meat is very tender when tested with a fork.  As soon as the ribs are out of the oven, spread them generously with additional barbecue sauce.  Grill right away or refrigerate to grill later.

4) About 40 minutes before you want to serve, heat a charcoal grill with a layer of hot coals, or heat a gas grill to medium-high heat.  After the charcoal turns gray, brush the cooking grate with oil to keep the ribs from sticking.  Place the ribs on the grill rib-side down.  Put the lid on top, making sure both vents are open, and grill for 5 minutes.  Turn the ribs meat-side down.  Put the lid back on and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes until nicely browned.  Place on a cutting board and cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow the ribs to rest for 10 minutes.  Cut into ribs and serve hot with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

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