"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food."- the late great Paul Prudhomme
I just found this quote, and it perfectly sums up how I feel about food- fresh, simple and delicious. I don't want the caviar and fancy techno cooking (not that I wouldn't enjoy eating that- well, not the caviar-have had it-not impressed, but it's not central to how I feel about food and cooking). I think Mother Nature got pretty much everything right. Think of a ripe peach. Really, can you improve on that? I don't think so. It's also fitting for this recipe I have to share with you today. The humble pork rib. It's tough and not much to look at, but transforms beautifully with a little time and inexpensive seasoning.
I know it is probably blasphemous to suggest oven BBQ to anyone from certain regions of this country, but I am a working mother of two with other interests and no smoker in my backyard. Granted these ribs will lack the sweet touch of smoky goodness only real hardwood will give you, but they are satisfying and delicious if you are a rib lover. And they couldn't be easier. You do need to plan to start them at least 24-48 hours ahead of when you want to cook them as they need time to let the seasoning work its magic. You can scale this recipe up or down as long as you have the oven capacity, in case you want to make them for a crowd. The spice seasoning should be adequate for several racks of baby backs and will store fine for up to 4 months in an airtight container in your spice cabinet (would be great on BBQ or Beer can Chicken, too). The smoked paprika and smoked salt help bring a touch of that wood-smoked flavor to the ribs, but you can substitute sweet paprika and more kosher salt if you prefer. Ready to get started?
Oven-Baked BBQ Ribs -serves 4-6
2 Racks of baby back ribs
Yellow Mustard (such as French's)
Seasoning Rub (recipe below)
Barbecue Sauce (your favorite or my recipe below)
1. Lay out a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil (long enough to enclose the ribs completely) for each rack of ribs preparing.
2. Spread a thin layer of yellow mustard on top and bottom of ribs.
3. Sprinkle seasoning rub all over both sides of the ribs. Gently pat it down into mustard to adhere.
4. Wrap securely in foil, place on a baking tray and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.
5. Remove ribs from fridge 30 minutes before cooking. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place ribs, on tray, into oven and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until ribs are very tender. Remove ribs from oven. Preheat broiler.
6. Unwrap ribs and slather tops generously with barbecue sauce. Return ribs to oven and broil until caramelized. Watch carefully so the sauce doesn't burn!
7. Remove from oven, cut into portions (I do every 2-3 ribs), serve with your favorite BBQ sides such as coleslaw, corn and watermelon! Be sure to have extra napkins on hand-this is messy good stuff! ♥
Barbecue Seasoning Spice Rub (Adapted from How to Grill by Steven Raichlen)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup smoked paprika
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
2 Tablespoon hickory or apple-wood smoked salt
4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
Sweet and Zesty Barbecue Sauce -makes approx 1 1/2 cups
(Don't be put off by the long ingredient list. It's mostly just measure and dump)
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1 cup Ketchup (I like Heinz the best)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or smoked salt)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
dash or two of liquid smoke (optional)
1. Over medium heat saute onions and garlic in a little vegetable oil until softened and translucent.
2. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
3. Cook, stirring often, until sauce is reduced and thickened. Cool slightly before transferring to glass container. Store in refrigerator for up to a month.
thick and rich and zesty- just the way I like it! : )