Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Ribs

What has two thumbs and keeps the oven on all day when it is 103 degrees outside to make ribs for her in-laws?  This guy! or girl, really.
Okay, bad joke.
Yes, we braved the heat because I bought some ribs on sale and intended to do most of the cooking via crock pot and then mine cracked.  They needed to be cooked so I did it in the oven.  The house was indeed quite warm, but the ribs were well worth it.
Ribs are one of those recipes where everybody has their own signature way of doing it and people will come to blows over parboiling, smoking, grilling, oven temperatures, dry rub vs. sauce, etc.  I'm no expert on BBQ, especially where ribs are concerned, so all I know is that everyone who ate this particular recipe wanted more.
This recipe is mainly a dry rub, with a reduction-type sauce, but you can finish off instead with a BBQ sauce of your choosing.  This time I actually chose to brush with a little Sweet Baby Ray's before putting under the broiler, though it didn't really need it.   I used a chipotle chili powder that I bought for another recipe, which gave them some heat, but it wasn't overwhelming, though maybe a bit much for a couple of the kids.  You could dial down the pepper if you find it too strong for you.
***update.  After making these several times, I have a couple of points to add:

  • The rub makes enough for 2 slabs of ribs.  You can cut everything in half for one slab, keep it the same and make 2 slabs, or keep half the rub in an airtight container until next time you need to make ribs.
  • I've done these in the slow cooker as well.  In the slow cooker you do not need to wrap them in foil, but I recommend spraying the inside with cooking spray first.  I did it on high about 4 hours, and then finished them off in the broiler again, because I like just a little bit of char on the outside.
  • For the chili powder, I've done a number of things, but I like 1 TBSP chipotle powder and 1 TBSP mesquite bbq powder the best.  You can adjust according to your taste, however.

Sweet and Spicy Ribs 

1 slab of spareribs (I prefer St. Louis cut)
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder (I used chipotle, but you could use ancho or even just a smoked paprika)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. vinegar

1.  Combine brown sugar, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, cloves, and cinnamon in small bowl.
2.  Place a rack on a foil lined baking sheet (standard half sheet).  Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on the rack.  Place ribs on top of foil.  Rub brown sugar/spice mixture all over the ribs, patting it in generously.  Leave ribs meaty side down and fold up the foil to make a large sealed packet.

3.  Place in oven on 250 for approximately 3.5-4 hours.  Remove ribs from the oven.  Carefully open the foil packet.  Remove ribs and place back on the rack.  Pour contents of foil into a saucepan.  If using a BBQ sauce, brush both sides with sauce.
4.  Place ribs under the broiler.  Broil until top starts to get lightly charred and then turn ribs to the other side.  The meat on the ribs will retract and you should be able to see about 1/2 inch of bone on the end when they are done.
5.  Meanwhile, boil the juices to reduce by about 1/2.  Add in the vinegar and stir.  Pour over the ribs (if you didn't sauce them already) and serve.

source: Smitten Kitchen

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