Sunday, June 12, 2011
Home Wrecker's Ribs. Saucy, Spicy, and just Sweet Enough to be Dangerous.
Don't you just love when you become completely obsessed with something you thought you'd have absolutely no interest in whatsoever? This just happened to me with the HBO show Game of Thrones. I remember watching the pilot with my husband in the spirit of matrimonial harmony, feigning interest while secretly betting I'd wind up surfing Bluefly. But as soon as the first scene began, I was a gonner.
What is it with HBO? It's like they've shot a probe straight into my brain and created entertainment just for little old me and my perversities. I mean how else can you explain me liking a show that looks like a testosterone-injected version of Lord of the Rings? Jason Mamoa, perhaps...
Anyway, this same phenomenon happened to me with ribs (like that segue? I'll be here all week.) It still amazes me that I went almost three decades turning my nose up at them, thinking them fatty and greasy and messy to finally realize that's exactly what makes them the best things on earth (sorry, thighs.)
And while it's damn hard to beat Martha Foose Hall's Vinegar-Mopped Ribs, I'm afraid sister's got competition with this recipe. And they're even easier to make! Just throw the marinade ingredients into an oversized ziploc, drop the ribs in, marinate overnight and then dump the whole thing - ribs and all - into a roasting pan over a sliced onion for 2 hours. No dry rub, no basting, no grilling.
Just be sure to kick the heat up for the last stretch of cooking so the meat bronzes up around the edges and those bones become nice and pliable, pulling apart without any fight. As Dolly Parton says about ribs in the movie 9 to 5, "That just wrecked my diet but it was SO worth it!"
Home Wrecker's Ribs
2 lbs babyback ribs
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes, or more for more heat
Good amount fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large vidalia or Spanish onion, sliced thick
additional salt and fresh cracked pepper for seasoning, just before roasting
Add the marinade ingredients - garlic through the olive oil - to a large marinading bag, squishing around with your fingers and giving a shake to help mix together. Once all incorporated, add the ribs and turn over a couple of times to be sure all sides of all racks have been anointed. Squish out the air, seal and refrigerate overnight turning over midway.
Remove one hour before cooking off.
Preheat oven to 325. Spray a large, rimmed roasting pan with nonstick spray and line with the onions (they don't have to completely cover the bottom - just provide enough lift so the ribs can sit on them and not on the bottom of the pan. Remove the ribs from the marinade bag and place over the onions, fat/meat side up (curved side down.) Pour the marinade all over and around the ribs getting every last drop out of the bag. Season the ribs over the top with a little more salt and pepper.
Transfer the ribs to the middle rack and roast at 325 for 2 hours, keeping an eye on the bottom of the pan so that it doesn't begin to burn/blacken. If it dries out, add a little water or chicken stock as needed but be careful not to flood the ribs.
After 2 hours, kick the heat up to 375, move the tray up to the top rack of your oven, and roast another 20-25 minutes until the top develops a deep, dark bronze color and the ribs separate easily when probed.