Saturday, July 24, 2010

There Will Be Ribs!........ and other adventures....

I don't have to tell you that I am sometimes taken on a flight of excitement whenever inspiration hits and this weekend will be a two part series on our achievement of not only superb Baby Back Ribs (sorry Craig.....) BUT how the leftovers ill evolve into most excellent Baguette Sandwiches of Pulled Pork!

The first part is producing easy, juicy and better than restaurant quality Baby Back Ribs in your home kitchen. For this I found (which is what got me started on this journey) a special advertised in my local Smith's Supermarket (known for their Corn fed beef from Nebraska) for Baby Back Rib Racks! YUM! So off I go and I purchased 3 whole racks for this weekend's dinner.
Yes, I guess you could make these in the BBQ but it's too hot to go outside so these will be made inside with less mess and clean-up..... (I'm hot and

I won't delve too much into the surrounding dishes except to say that I also made an excellent spicy "Mango Salsa" just in case, the needed Dry Rub to get the ribs started, the BBQ Sauce to finish off the racks, a tart Cole Slaw to serve alongside- and this was more than enough to satiate our tummy's.....

Don't be put off by this most involved project that I've taken on. There's nothing hard about any of it at all, anyone can do this. Very straightforward instructions, no fancy equipment (on the contrary, basic stuff all the way), no imported ingredients and your old stove will work excellently. Before you know it you will have a wonderful dinner full of piggy goodness that will give you a fancy restaurant quality dinner at a fraction of the cost! Just great!

I did go a little nuts as I often do (must be my OCD kicking in, lol) but if you're interested in results being extra excellent, the work is more than justified and you will be rewarded with great satisfaction at the results. Promise. So how about it, want to go along for the ride? Off we go....

Baby Back Ribs.- Great tasting, moist and tender ribs..... (I made 3 whole racks, if you make less adjust the recipe -or- make the same and store leftovers for use on another day)

3 whole Baby Back Rib Racks (usually sold in bags with enzyme liquid), rinsed and dried- meat must always be room temperature before cooking

Dry Rub:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp Kosher salt
2tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Paprika
2 tbl whole French Roast Coffee Beans (or similar), finely ground

BBQ Sauce:
1 tbl olive oil
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tbl apple cider vinegar
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce (or you can make it from fresh tomatoes)
2 tbl water
1 tbl Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 tbl Chipotle Pepper liquid or 1-2 whole peppers, finely chopped (optional)

Preparing the ribs with the rub: Put all spices for the rub in a bowl and mix well. Put the ribs in baking or cookie sheets covered with aluminum foil and sprayed with non-stick spray (you don't have to but it will make clean up easier). Lay the ribs on a disposable baking dish or other such vessel so you won't get the rub all over the place (I am always thinking about cleanup afterward so I try to avoid being messy).

Sprinkle generously the rub all over the ribs, on both sides and rub into the meat so that it covers completely and stays on. Lay the ribs on the prepared baking sheet and allow to rest anywhere from 15-30 min.

Make the BBQ Sauce: On med-high heat, put the oil in a sauce pan and add the dry spices so they will roast and become aromatic for about 5 min. Then add the liquid ingredients, mix well and allow to come to a boil. (You can add any other ingredients you like too, be brave! You can use ketchup, strong coffee, etc) Lower the heat and let simmer for at least 30 min of if you've added more liquid (like wine or beer for instance) let is simmer more time until it thickens some. I usually leave it at a medium thickness which makes it easier to paint on meats, besides, it will thicken naturally once it cools down too.

The cooking begins: Turn the oven to 350 degrees. Cover your ribs with aluminum foil and seal really well all around. Put in the oven and cook for about 45-60 min. Check after this time and although they won't be finished you're looking for them to start getting tender and for the bones to begin loosing their grip on the meat. Check by grabbing a bone and twisting slightly, it should still have a little resistance but it should be getting ready to be loose, ok? You can also pierce it with a sharp knife and it should go in very easily. If it's not like this, cook 15-30 min more, but if it's like this then take the foil off and cook for 15 min more, first painting with the BBQ sauce, then cook for another 15 min and paint again. Check the loosening of the bone again and at this time it should be loose. The ribs are ready but let them rest 15-20 min before serving or cutting.

NOTE: I usually make bigger batches of both the rub and the sauce then put them in jars and keep in the fridge so when I am tempted to make something else like chicken, pork, steak or whatever I think this would taste good with, I've got it ready and it's easy.... just think on the many ways you can use a good BBQ Sauce. Use it with french fries, veggies, any kind of meat, if used it as a base for a tomato based salad dressing (I'm working on a new recipe for this which I will post later), on seafood or whatever you like. Don't forget there are NO rules and the only limits are what your imagination and taste buds tell you, ok?

I can report that the ribs were amazing and we enjoyed them very much. Rene said they were much better than at Tony Roma's and the texture was finer and juicier than other places. That's high praise indeed since he's the pickiest, most discriminating eater..... we each had 1/2 a rack for dinner and I stored the rest in the fridge to save for the second part of the weekend project.

I am in the middle of making authentic French Baguettes to turn into sandwiches. The leftover ribs will be stripped from the bones and turned into "Pulled Pork" type shredded meat, adding more BBQ sauce for the filling of the sandwiches on the crusty bread that is at this very moment sitting on top of my toaster "rising"..... (I will post this recipe later in case you want to try this too). I am following Julia Child's French Bread Recipe for making it in a home kitchen with American ingredients and it produces 3 baguette loaves with hard crusts and tender flavorful insides which we love so much. We abhor soft crust breads that have become so prevalent all over, makes us think no one has any teeth anymore and we are more than partial to any and all French Style breads...... This recipe makes excellent bread that costs pennies! You can also imagine the aroma of bread baking in the oven which will add to the "anticipation factor" before dinner is done.......

The bread project began early this morning and it's just at the first rising and I will be "at it" all day..... anticipation is a wonderful thing, huh? I am thinking of the veggies that will accompany the meat and what our dinner will have to make it complete. A lovely bottle of Louis Jadot Cabernet Sauvignon wine will be opened to allow to breathe later and it promises to be another lovely evening.... Talk soon.....

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