Hi Everyone! The long weekend of August is fast approaching, and I haven’t shared my recipe for tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs yet! No summer is complete without a good rib feast.
I’ve had people tell me they’ve tried to do ribs, and haven’t had a lot of success. Because they have a lot of connective tissue surrounding the bone, they can become very tough if not cooked properly, and although they’re sometimes pretty “fatty”, they can end up dry. The method I’m going to share with you is incredibly simple, and will give you tender, juicy ribs every time.
When I’m buying ribs, I buy the slabs of pork side ribs. I find they have the most meat on them, and less of the small “button” bones that can be aggravating when you want to just dig in! If you watch the sales, you can stock your freezer with several slabs for around $12.00 each, and each slab will easily feed four people. (Ok, if you eat like me, maybe two or three!)
The first step is the most time-consuming. Take the ribs out of their packaging, and rinse them in cold water. Lay them meat-side down on a cutting board and with a very sharp knife (I keep a filleting knife in my kitchen for ribs, etc.), insert the blade along one edge between what’s called the “silver skin”, and the bone. Silver skin is the thin, but very tough layer of skin that covers the rib bones. It can be a pain to remove, but with practice, you’ll be able to insert the knife, and pull it off. It’s worth the effort! Flip the ribs over, and trim off as much fat as you can.
Cut the ribs lengthwise down the long bones. I like to cut them into pieces that have three or four ribs, depending on the size. Lay them in a baking dish that’s large enough to hold all the rib pieces, and some liquid. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. (In these HOT days, I’ve used my toaster/convection oven so I didn’t add more heat to the house; that’s why the loaf pans instead of a large baking dish)
For each slab that you’re cooking, using a bowl or large measuring cup, add ¾ cup cider vinegar (white vinegar won’t give the right flavour), 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of onion powder, 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1 chopped onion, and 2 tbsp of soya sauce. Add enough water to make roughly two cups of liquid. Mix well, and pour over the ribs. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and put it in the oven.
The ribs are going to cook low and slow in the oven for about two hours so the tough connective tissue will break down and the meat will become very tender. After an hour, remove the foil carefully, and turn the ribs over. This will allow the ribs that were on top to be in the liquid to absorb more flavour. Cover the dish again, and pop it back in the oven for the second hour. I know this part seems really long, but it’s SO worth it. At the end of the second hour, the ribs should be fully cooked. Try a small piece to see if they’re fairly tender. If not, put them back in the oven and check them every half hour.
Fire up your grill using high heat, and make sure the rack is very clean. While the grill is heating, remove the ribs from the cooking liquid, and pat them dry with paper towel. Turn the grill down to medium-high heat, and lay the pieces meat-side down on the rack. Using your favourite barbecue sauce, (I’ve recently been turned on to a maple/chipotle sauce that’s incredible!) baste the ribs.
Keep an eye on the grill so you don’t overdo the ribs, they can burn quickly. Once you see good grill marks on the side facing the heat, and the meat isn’t sticking to the rack, flip them over, and baste the top-side with your sauce. Allow them to sit on the grill for about five more minutes, and you’re ready to serve up some amazing barbecue ribs!