Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mid-summer rib feast

For some reason, when I think of a summer-y meal, I think of grilled ribs, potato salad, and ice cream sandwiches. This is probably from the many grill-outs the Mogs and I enjoyed along with our outdoor-loving friends in NC. What's funny, though, is that I have never made ribs on a grill - we've always cooked ribs in the oven... Well, memories are often not accurate, and that's OK. My vision of a summer-y meal is still wet ribs, potato salad, and ice cream sandwiches!

Yesterday, after an insanely hot week, topped off with a 115F weekend, I was in the mood for a summer celebration. I decided to open up the jars of 'Q sauce from Nic and Gwyn's wedding and have me some ribs!

I'd actually been saving these jars to make real NC 'Q, but I just couldn't find a do-able 'Q recipe anywhere. 'Q is BBQ, and BBQ is not any grilled meat. It's slow-cooked pulled pork, best enjoyed with hushpuppies (fried corn meal). Ah, I miss those NC treats!

Anyway, since giving up on making my own 'Q, baby back ribs seemed like a good alternative. I consulted Dr. Biggles for some quick and speedy rib recipes. He gave me some wonderful tips, and without hesitation, I threw on some lime (didn't have lemon handy) slices and vegetable broth (didn't have sake handy) on the slab of all-natural, organic baby back ribs, wrapped the whole thing in foil convex-style, and chucked it into the oven. My oven is either on at 375F or off (set any lower, the oven doesn't turn on), so although I think I cooked the ribs at 375F, I really have no idea what temperature it really is in the oven. And no, I don't own a oven thermometer...

And I did something bad then. I went for run. Yes, I left the oven on with meat inside it and left the house. I felt really guilty doing this, since in the very back of my mind, the thought of the meat burning into a fiery ball did cross my mind. I somehow reasoned it away, saying how I've always cooked things in the oven for 1-2 hrs without any trouble... But I probably shouldn't have done that. Next time, I think I'll stay home and do yoga...

After my run, I checked on the ribs, and it was looking mighty juicy in there. I added one 8 oz jar of sauce to the convex side. I loosened the foil to start letting the moisture escape some and threw it back in the oven some more while I took a shower. At this point, I also started boiling the potatoes for my potato salad. When I came out of the shower, I flipped the slab over and poured another jar of sauce over the concave side for more grilling. My potatoes were soft and ready by the time I was done flipping and brushing the sauce on the ribs, so I made my wasabi-ginger-mint potato salad (I know, I know, not very Southern...). By the time the potato salad was done, I was now ready for a final flipping of the ribs. I flipped the ribs one last time, brushed on the sauce that accumulated on the bottom, raised the temperature of the oven, and took the foil off completely for a brief broiling. I have no idea whether the broiling function really works on my oven, but I got that nice and appetizing char-broiled look...

Right around then, Anne came over for a timely dinner! We dug right into the ribs and enjoying the finger-lickin' good 'Q sauce with fall-off-the-bone ribs. The 'Q sauce was slightly tangy and sweet, full of flavor. And the ribs - they were so flavorful, fragrant, tender, and juicy all at the same time, largely due to the quality of the meat itself. My secret to cooking meat well is buying good meat - hides all my lazy imperfections!

And for dessert, we had ice cream sandwiches but with California-influence on my Southern style meal - soy milk ice cream sandwiches...


Uchipu said...

I do the same thing with my ribs!!

How funny!

But I actually have a homemade spice rub that I rub the ribs with before wrapping it up in foil and tossing it in the oven for 2 hours (at 250-275F works well for me).

Then I cut a little hole in the foil, drain the juices, and make ths Q sauce from the juices.

Tomato Paste, Balsalmic Vinegar, Molasses, Minced Garlic, dash of cayenne for a kick. Slather that on the ribs, raise temprature to 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Then...go all out with 450 degrees, slathering ribs every 15 - 20 minutes for about another 40 minutes.


But being in CA with a YARD you should start grillin' too!

Fatemeh Khatibloo-McClure said...

Girlfriend, you are off the hook.

You cooked ribs in the oven when it was 100* out?? And THEN you went for a run in the aforementioned heat? You're a trooper, I'll say that for ya.

The Papa Bear said...

That was the first time I've had homemade ribs - it was tantalizingly good! And the two-third-cooked corn was delightfully crunchy and sweet; but Anne and The Baby Bear didn't agree with me; they wanted it more cooked.

Alice said...

Uchi pu-

Wow, what a wonderful idea! I'll have to try your recipe very soon.


I started my half-marathon training routine, which motivates me to get out the door... even with ribs in the oven...