Friday, September 19, 2008

Best Ribs Ever

O.k. Here's the goods:

Before you start!!!
Calculate when you want to eat the ribs and go back 6 hours. If you want to serve at 5 those ribs have got to be in the oven with the door shut at 12:00. This is probably the most important step.

#1: Buy the absolute best ribs you can find. According to my mentor, they have more meat and meat is what you're after.

#2: Take them home, unwrap and set out on a good cutting board. Grab a sharp knife and make a good cut along the bone side of the ribs, this ain't easy, you're cutting into bone! Your goal: making a cut into the thin elastic funky whatever that is on the bones, the white membrane sheet of stuff. You're going to spend a bit of time picking and stretching as much of that membrane off as possible without jumping in the car and buying the ribs pre cooked elsewhere.

#3: Flip the rack over and go at the tendons and any other tough white material that may be on the meat side. Pliers work well for this, as does a nice sharp knife. You can grab a tube of the tendon-y stuff and pull tightly as your knife follows it and you scrap it from the rack. Don't get crazy, but get rid of as much of that stuff as possible.

#4. Wash the rack(s) under a good stream of water and pat dry. Set on a paper towel to catch drips.

#5: Dry Rub. This is my version, you can alter it if'n ya wanna.

2 Tbl. Kosher or Gray Salt
2 Tbl. White Sugar
4 Tbl. Brown Sugar
2 Tbl. Ground Cumin
1 Tbl. Chili Powder (more or less depending on who likes heat and who will be eatin'...)
1 Tbl. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. Ground Cayenne Pepper
3 Tbl. Sweet Paprika
1 Tbl. Garlic Powder (not garlic salt!)
1 tsp. Ground Onion Powder (or 2 tsp. dried onion flakes if you prefer)
1 tsp. Mustard Seed

Mix this all together.

I usually cut my rack into four or five rib per piece chunks, makes it easier for me, but hey, no rules here.

Take your dry rub and be generous as you coat the rack on all sides. Really get it into all the layers and creases on both the meat and bone sides. Set aside, I like to have them sit in this marinade for an hour or so, or...

If I am not having ribs soon, I will coat them with the rub and seal them in my vacuum sealer and put them in the freezer. This way when I pull the ribs out to thaw, they are marinating and I don't have too much to do the day of the cooking.

#6: Again remember to calculate when you want to eat the ribs and go back 6 hours. If you want to serve at 5 those ribs have got to be in the oven with the door shut at 12:00. Preheat your oven 20 minutes prior to placing the ribs in the oven at 250. Yes. 250. That's as high as you want them to bake. Tender meat = Low and Slow!

Knowing when you want the ribs served, grab a baking sheet. Cover the bottom with a piece of parchment across the sheet so the bottom is covered, and the parchment hangs over each side. (I get my parchment in bulk, full sheet cake sized, from Smart and Final - cheap!) Lay the rack(s) on the parchment, fold the remaining parchment over the top of the rack and cover the entire thing in foil, sealed. My baking rack is a half sheet pan, so I have to double fold my foil and then cover the sheet. I tuck the ends in over and curl them around the sheet sides to make a good tight seal. This will steam and bake the ribs and keep the moisture in the meat.

Put them in the oven and close the door. Don't even think about peeking until 4:30.

#7: At 4:00 grab 2 cups of barbecue sauce. I use K.C. Masterpiece Original. Add 2 cups of your favourite honey, I use orange blossom, whisk these two together until blended and set aside. That's 1/2 sauce to 1/2 honey.

#8: At 4:30 open the door and get the ribs out. Remove the foil and drain the juices. I think it's easier to just pick up the rack (mine are usually all in four to five bone servings) with tongs and roll them gently in the sauce; coating them well on all sides.

Your ribs will now be so tender they will fall from the bone so be careful how you pick them up and roll them in the sauce!

Place the rack back on the sheet and when all the racks are coated, back into the oven while I set the table and get the other food on. Or, if you want folks to think you have done these ribs on the grill out back, now is the time to do that. Fire up the barbecue and set the coated ribs there to caramelize until you serve. To me, this means one more thing to clean up later, but hey, it's your party.

By the time the table is set and folks begin to gather, your ribs will be caramelized and making everyone drool. Get them on a platter and sit down ready to hear the praise and compliments. I guarantee everyone will love them.

Fresh pineapple, cut into slices and dipped a bit in brown sugar, set under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize is not only easy, but almost dessert!

I add a bit of fresh minced pineapple to a head of grated cabbage, a grated carrot or two and two green onions chopped through to the green and beyond, 1 tsp. of celery seed, 1 Tbl. white sugar, and a half cup of (I know -ick!) Miracle Whip. Fresh ground black pepper to taste. I blend all this, about an hour ahead, and chill in the fridge until serving.

Corn -bread or muffins, a hearty green salad, and a glass of milk will keep you from eating for two days afterward. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dem Bones!

About five or so years ago I was shopping for ribs in Costco. I must have looked extremely intimidated as I shopped. I heard a smooth, deep, and slightly gravely voice slowly educate me. One of the largest men I have ever met stood behind me and asked,"You lookin' to cook up some ribs ma'am?" I turned (looked waaaay up) and replied a meager, confused and even discouraged "yeah." "Well, I don' mean no disrespec ma'am, but- you look in the mirror lately? You white! And ain't never been a white girl who kin make a good rib witout some hep. Lemme hep you out." (Grinning like a Cheshire cat at my silliness and holding back his giggles) "You see dem bones you lookin' at? They baaaad. You don' want dem missy, you want dese... ova here." I walk with him over to the expensive ribs. "You see ma'am, I use da be the head cook at a little rib joint down in Sanna Mon-ca."

At that point in the conversation my memory (and stomach) took an immediate turn to a hole in the wall on Santa Monica Boulevard where they made the best ribs in the world, or at least my world. They were amazingly moist, tender- so much so they did fall off the bone, and flavourful. The perfect combination of spice to sweet, and meaty enough to satisfy.

"You wouldn't mean 'Dem Bones' would you?" "Oh, you heard o' my little place? Yeeees ma'am. But those days is pass now. Now I find myself educatin' the likes of you folks, hehehe." "Well, please! I don't have a clue of how to start." So he clued me into a few of his tricks and from then on I have loved my version of his "dem bones" style ribs.

Last night we were scheduled to serve the missionaries dinner, so I thought a good end of summer treat would be a rack or two of ribs, fresh cole slaw and grilled pineapple. The two guys called to cancel at the last minute and so Thor and I sat down to a feast!

As you can tell from the photo, the ribs were juicy, tender enough for the bone to just sliiiide off perfectly clean and so goooooood! yum!

All because an extremely nice gentleman showed me his famous barbecue tricks! Thank you Dem Bones Man!