The Best Way to Cook Ribs
by Heidi Von Tagen
The evening was lovely. Eloise giggled as Kev and Jud taught her how to lie in the hammock in the back yard, Caroline threw together a wonderful green salad and we enjoyed a deliciously juicy bottle of red wine that went beautifully with ribs.
Now here is my confession: I’ve actually never made ribs before. My Subtly Amazing Husband is pretty much in charge of the grill in the summer, and we are not necessarily a rib-consuming type of family. But our freezer has been filled with neatly wrapped packages of all kinds of pork and beef that I earned in early spring after trading photographs of prize winning pigs at a local farm in Sandy Oregon.
Needless to say, I’d grabbed a couple mysteriously white butcher paper encased slabs from the deep freeze and let them thaw in the fridge. Once defrosted, I opened them up to behold two pink and red racks of pork ribs. Upon looking up recipes online, I decided to combine a few of the tricks I’d read about on the Internet and attempt to invent a perfect sauce to go with.
Surprisingly, by the time Jud, Caroline, Eloise, Kev were seated at the table with a simple salad, a loaf of New Season’s bread and our coveted red wine, the ribs were perfectly fall-off-the-bone-melt-in-your-mouth done.
And the sauce was divine as well, if I do say so myself.
I felt like such a Kitchen Cowgirl.
1. Place rack of ribs on a large sheet of aluminum foil in a large baking dish and begin mixing together your rub. I tossed together about 4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp ground mustard, 1 Tbs garlic powder and 1 tsp chili pepper. Pat and press firmly into the meat and wrap the aluminum foil tightly around it like a present. Put into the fridge and let rest for at least 2 hours. (I did this first thing in the morning, then puttered about until later that afternoon)
2. Take baking dish with foil wrapped ribs out of fridge. Turn oven onto bake setting at only 275 degrees. Once the oven is heated, pop the ribs in the baking dish into oven on the middle rack, and let slow bake in it’s own juice and rub for at least 3 hours.
3. A little before the ribs are due to emerge from the oven, pour 1 can of beer into a saucepan and heat through at medium high heat. Add 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbs. dark brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, a dollop of Dijon mustard, a splash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce and bring to a slow low boil.
4. When timer goes off, carefully remove baking dish from oven and even more carefully, unwrap the foil around the ribs, keeping most of the foil in tact. (you want the ribs to continue to marinade in their own drippings) Drizzle a few spoonfuls of the sauce over the ribs and return to the oven, this time, make sure they are on the top rack and turn the heat up to 475 degrees. Once the oven heats up to 475, put the timer on for only about 15 minutes so the ribs will become crispy and caramelized.
5. turn the heat up on the stove top so that the beer-sauce is simmering slowly and reduces to about half. The glaze should be slightly sweet, slightly tangy and delicious. Adjust to your taste, and when it has reduced enough, pour it into a dish and set on the table so your guests can drizzle on as much as they like.