Thursday, July 8, 2010

Removing My Ribs

No, this isn't a post about me undergoing the same surgery that Marilyn Manson allegedly went through, though they say it has it's advantages. This post covers something far more important (and I mean far more important) -- pork ribs.

Ahh Pork Ribs. Undeniable summery, undeniably messy and undeniably tasty. I am in love -- my favorite meat mingling with my favorite condiment in what is one of the most satisfying and comforting meals in your repertoire.

How to cook ribs is one of the most hotly debated issues in the culinary world. Barbecue gurus from different parts of the country can't even agree on whether barbecue represents the way the meat is cooked or the sauce in which is it (sometimes) smothered. Nor can rib aficianados decide how fall-off-the-bone they should be, or exactly what cooking method should be used. Yes, folks, disagreement is the hallmark of this unique little corner of food nirvana. Read this paragraph as a disclaimer that while the way I "barbecue" ribs might be vastly different than the way you do, it results in a damn good final product.

One more thing before I get down to brass tacks -- I mentioned that some question whether ribs should fall off the bone or not. I say, they should. You should be able to grab each individual rib and yank it cleanly out of it's meaty home.

So here are today's players:

You obviously need ribs:
St. Louis Ribs.

For the liquid in which the ribs are cooked:
3/8 Barbecue Sauce
3/8 Beef Stock
1/4 Red Wine Vinegar

For delicious purposes:
More Barbecue Sauce

Simply combine all three liquids in a bowl and stir together (it will be fairly thin). Please don't measure them. Just make sure you have more barbecue and beef stock than vinegar. Taste it, and make sure it's not too vinegary. Now you're going to place your ribs in a baking pan that can accomodate and dump your saucy mixture on top. You want the ribs to be nearly completely covered, if they are sticking out a little bit that's fine. Cover tightly with foil and toss in your preheated 350 degree oven for about 3 or 4 hours (one of my good buddies once did about 10 hours once, but only because we sort of forgot about them, I don't recommend cooking them for that long).

You'll know the ribs are done when they fall apart if you look at them cross. Gingerly transfer the ribs from the liquid onto a broiler pan. Brush a coat of sauce on the ribs; toss under the broiler, lick your lips, pace around the kitchen, peak 2-3-4 times, remove from broiler (the sauce will get nice and bubbly, if you're patient, you can let it start to really caramelize nicely (I am not patient).

Break out the wet naps and serve with some mashed or crash hot potatoes and corn on the cob. No, you don't have to send me a thank you card.

A note about BBQ Sauce: I do not make my own. I use Sweet Baby Rays which, for my money, is the best commercially available sauce on the market. Feel free to doctor it up, but I doubt you will see the need.

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