Friday, October 28, 2011

Baby Back Ribs!

One very intriguing dish is the very succulent and juicy Barbecued Baby Back Ribs!  First and foremost, the size of the meat is quite intimidating.  And since you don't normally see this cut of meat cooked at home,  one is led to believe that it's hard and complicated to prepare.  You'd be surprised that it actually is quite easy to prepare!  While it takes a lot of time to make the meat really tender, the process is very simple.  You can just leave the mixture behind and let the heat and the braising liquid do their job.

While watching season 2 of MasterChef Australia, chefs and hosts Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris held a Master Class teaching the contestants how to make American-style Sticky BBQ Pork Ribs!  All the contestants were dying to try the dish and it left my mouth watering after the said episode.  And so now that I know how easy it is to make, I tried cooking a batch last night.  I adopted this Baby Back Ribs recipe from Gary's version.  It's an absolute winner! Enjoy!  

BBQ Baby Back Ribs Recipe

(2 -3 servings)

1 kilo Pork Baby Back Ribs

For the dry Rub:
1 Tablespoon Onion, minced (1/2 onion)
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced (3 cloves)
1 teaspoon Spanish Paprika (Smoked Paprika)
1 teaspoon Mustard powder
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt

For the braising liquid/sauce:
¾ cup Apple cider vinegar (Heinz)
¾ cup Brown Sugar
1 Onion, diced
1 Tomato, diced
2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
1 teaspoon Spanish Paprika
½ teaspoon Chili flakes (Add more as desired)
1 teaspoon Mustard Powder
2 Bay Leaves
Orange peel/zest  (1 Orange)


Step 1: Prepare Ingredients
-          - Wash pork ribs and pat dry.  Remove the thin film at the back of the ribs.
-          - Measure all ingredients and set aside. 
-          - Sauce ingredients may be prepared 1-2 hours later.

Step 2: Marinate Pork ribs in Dry rub
-         -  Mix all dry rub ingredients in a bowl. 
-          - Rub mixture all over pork ribs.  Coat ribs generously.
-         -  Refrigerate pork ribs for 1-2 hours to marinate.

Step 3: Grill and Braise Pork Ribs
-          - Pour a little oil over pork ribs.  Grill just enough to brown the ribs.  (Use a charcoal grill to add smokiness to   the dish.  If not using, you may use any pan (preferably a griddle pan) to brown the ribs.)
-         -  Set aside ribs.
-          - Mix braising liquid or sauce ingredients in a cooking pot large enough to hold pork ribs.
-          - Bring mixture to a boil.  Mix well.
-          - Transfer pork ribs into braising pan, put the lid / cover on, and simmer until tender in low heat.  This will take about 1 ½ hours.  Poke ribs with a spoon to test for tenderness. 
(Alternately, you may pop the dish into a 185 C oven to braise for 1 ½ hours.)

Step 4: Sauce preparation and Serving
-         -  Once the pork is tender, remove the ribs and transfer to a serving dish.
-         -  Taste the remaining sauce and adjust accordingly.  You may need to add water to reduce the tartness or sweetness of the sauce.
-         -  Reduce the sauce to desired (sticky) consistency.  Strain and brush on ribs or serve separately.

The braising time helped by the acidity from the vinegar results in fall-off-the-bone tenderness for these Pork Ribs.  The sauce is a bit sweet and sour with a rich orange flavor from the orange peel.  One thing I might consider adding next to this BBQ sauce is the aromatic and  peppery flavor of freshly ground Black Peppercorns.  On its own though, it was already very good.  It definitely made me eat more than the half cup of rice I have rationed for myself.  

Recently I came up with this quote for myself, "Knowledge is nothing when one doesn't know how to apply and share it."  So now that you know how to make these, do try them and share them with your love ones!  You definitely won't regret it and you might just get rewarded for it. (^o-)v

Baby Back Ribs! BBQ American-style

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