Posts Tagged ‘Ribs’

29th January
written by Loren


In case you’re not in Minnesota, or have been intentionally avoiding television news for the last 3 weeks, let me bring you up to speed; it is brutally cold up north here. I usually pride myself on being someone who doesn’t mind the winters, as though the ability to survive a 6 month period spent entirely indoors somehow grants me a moral high ground. Well, this winter is close to breaking me. A few things to put this winter in context: Over the entirety of my K-12 education, I got two days off; one for snow, and one for cold weather. Halfway through this winter, school has been cancelled three five times for cold weather (cancelled twice more between the time I started and finished this post!).  More than once this winter, it has been -20 when I walked out to my car in the morning. NEGATIVE. TWENTY. So cold that the moisture in my breath freezes on my mustache instantly. So cold that my car creaks and groans when I get in every morning, and the heater doesn’t start putting out warm air until I’m basically turning into my work parking lot. So cold that your eyes water involuntarily, and then your tears freeze to your face.

Suffice it to say, I’m pretty damn sick of this winter, and I needed something to take me away, even if just for the evening. Enter the Asian glazed ribs. This was the perfect recipe for what I needed. The rich, juicy meat was hardy enough for a winter evening, but the south Asian flavors made me feel like I was someplace warm. Also, while you can finish these ribs on a grill (and I am on the record as being an advocate of winter grilling), they work just fine in the oven. This is another winner from the carnivore’s bible, Good Meat.

1 rack of baby back ribs (about 2 lbs)
For the marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup bourbon
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger – I ended up mincing the ginger once i realized how slowly it was grating on my microplane.
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the glaze/dipping sauce:
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

You’ll need something large enough to hold the ribs while they marinate, and it needs to be non reactive (so nothing aluminum). I didn’t have a glass dish large enough, so I bought a pair of large tupperwareesque things to hold them. You can also cut the rack in half to squeeze it into the marinating dish. They should marinate at least overnight, preferably for 24 hours.  Combine all the marinade ingredients and pour them over the meat. Turn the meat to coat, then refrigerate until ready to cook.

The next day, heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil, and place a wire rack on top. Put the ribs on the rack, meat side up, blotting off any excess marinade with some paper towels. Roast the ribs for 2 hours, or until tender.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine the honey and warm water, then add the brown sugar, stirring until it is dissolved.  Then add the lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, red pepper and cilantro. Reserve half the glaze to use for dipping at the table. Note: this is a great dipping sauce for practically any kind of Asian food. I’ll be making it the next time I have potstickers.

Baste the nearly cooked ribs and roast for another 15 minutes, or until the surface s browned and glossy. Turn the ribs, bone side up, and glaze them again, then put them under the broiler or on a hot grill until they are lightly charred. Watch them very closely on this step –  there is a lot of sugar in the glaze which will burn quickly.  Cut the ribs into individual pieces, if desired, and serve them warm, with the dipping sauce on the side.


Asian Glazed Ribs

10th March
written by Loren

I never liked Italian food growing up, which caused friction with my brother Allen who I think would have been content to eat Spaghetti every single night. As my palate has matured I have realize that I didn’t dislike Italian food, I disliked poor impersonations of Italian food. What I mean by that is mushy spaghetti, topped with canned tomato sauce, and maybe some overcooked and unseasoned ground beef. Yuck

This is the crap I'm talking about...

. But properly done Italian food? Fantastic. I especially like the recipes which bubble away for hours, letting the flavors mingle and making your kitchen smell so damn good that you can’t resist stealing some of the food before it’s done.

The basis of this recipe came from my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. Btw, if you are unaware of the ATK cookbooks/TV show or Cook’s Illustrated magazine, you should really check them out. It’s a wonderful organization. They test endless variations of each recipe they publish to find the very best methods, and they also test kitchen equipment and common ingredients to tell you the best ones to buy. Anyways, in this particular instance I thought their recipe was a bit too simple, so I added a few things to make it more interesting. You will need:

  • 1.5-2 lbs of beef short ribs or pork bone-in country ribs
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 28 oz. of canned diced tomatoes (look for Muir Glen Organic. They won the ATK taste test of canned diced tomatoes.)
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed (you want these left whole, so you can take them out after stewing)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb of pasta (the book recommends tubular pasta like a rigatoni or penne)

Pat the ribs dry, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the ribs, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the fat in the skillet (I poured it all out and replaced it with some bacon fat from the fridge. I think it added a nice smoky background flavor.) Add the onion and shallot to the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, until the wine has reduced to a glaze, about 2 minutes.

This is another spot where I differed from the recipe, either because I didn’t have the right size pan or because I leaned more towards the 2lb range in terms of meat. Either way, instead of returning the meat to the skillet, I transferred the meat and wine/aromatics to a large pot, about the size of a dutch oven.  Don’t forget to add any juices which might have come out from the meat while it was resting; that’s good flavor. Then add in the tomatoes and juice, plus the garlic cloves, bay leaf and oregano. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 1.5 to 2 hours, turning the ribs occasionally until the meat is tender and falling apart. That is the real test of done-ness, when I made this I let it go for 2.5 hours and the meat was shreddable but still just a bit tougher than I would have liked.

Right before the cover goes on.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the sauce and let cool. Shred the meat and discard the bones and any chunks of fat you find. You’ll also want to remove the garlic cloves and bay leaf. Return the shredded meat to the sauce and continue to simmer over medium heat for another 5 minutes or so to re-heat the ribs and thicken the sauce a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When tossing with pasta, add some of the pasta water if the sauce needs to be thinned out a bit. For a garnish, I shredded some parmesan and sprinkled some chiffonaded basil leaves, but really this can stand on its own. One last note: to get a gentle simmer (1-2 bubbles per second as the book describes it) I had to turn my stove down as low as it could go, until the flame was almost turned off. So it might take some fiddling to get the heat just right.

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