Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Marinade Part II: Fall Off the Bone Spareribs


Jo and I got talking about marinades the other day after her post.  My usual marinade is different (I'll get around to posting it one of these days) and after comparing she got me in the mood for some ribs.  BabyBella and I absolutely love, love ribs.  However, to make them truly fall-off-the-bone that takes time and preplanning (two things I'm horrible at finding and doing).  But, the stars aligned and for once I did both.  Yesterday I swung by the meat department and picked up 1 3/4 lbs of spareribs--I know that's too much for the both of us but I'm planning on having them for lunch during the week--and checked my work calendar and voila! had the time to step away from my desk for a few minutes in the middle of the day.  Happy.

First things first, I made a batch of Jo's marinade though since BB doesn't like overly spicy foods I cut the chili sauce down to 1 tbl.  Then over medium-high heat I quickly browned both sides of the ribs in a tablespoon of canola oil to seal them. I then covered them in the marinade (I saved about a quarter cup for later) and placed them, bone side down, in a baking dish and covered it very tightly with aluminum foil.  The point is to steam the ribs, slowly, in their own juices and if they aren't covered tightly enough all that lovely steam is going to escape.  I put the dish in the oven at 250 degrees and then waited.  

Seriously, this is definitely a "I'm going to be home all day" sort of thing.  I put them in the oven at 1:30 pm planning on dinner by 5:30.  Yeah, that's right folks--we're talking FOUR HOURS including broiling time (we'll get to that in a bit) so plan ahead.

What goes better with ribs?  Well, potato salad and cornbread of course!  I used the cornbread recipe from my trusty old America's Test Kitchen cookbook and made the potato salad from scratch using a recipe I've made and adjusted many a time over the years.  Something weird--I'm allergic to mayonnaise but only the commercial buy-it-in-the-store-in-a-jar type stuff.  I can eat homemade mayonnaise without problem.  However one bite of the store stuff and...well let's just say it isn't pretty.

Homemade Mayonnaise
Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbl vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 cup oil (I used canola but have also used light extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
Add all ingredients, except for the oil, to a blender on highest setting.  I like to chill the container part first, but that's really just a personal preference since I tend to use it immediately.  Once everything is well blended, with the blender still running, slowly pour the oil into the mix.  It's a really neat process.  One second it's merrily spinning around obviously very much a liquid then *poof* it thickens up and is mayonnaise.  Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

This makes about a cup and a half of mayonnaise which is perfect for making a decent sized batch of potato salad (enough for 6 people).  However, tonight I halved my own recipe so I didn't end up eating potato salad for the rest of the week.  The whole recipe is as follows:

Potato Salad
Ingredients:

  • 2 - 2.5 lbs potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 6 sliced of cook bacon, crumbled
  • 1.5 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbl stone ground mustard
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 tbl sugar
  • 1 tbl garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
Peel and dice potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Boil for 15 minutes until just tender then drain.  Chill in refrigerator at least an hour or until centers are cool.  Once potatoes are chilled through, add remaining ingredients and toss well to coat evenly.  Best if refrigerated and served 4 hours or more later as the flavors will develop and blend in that time.

Back to the ribs.  With the cornbread already done that morning and potato salad chilling in the refrigerator, after three and a half hours of baking I pulled the ribs out of the oven and pulled off the foil.  When doing this part, be very, very, very careful because steam is going to come bursting out and that's a nasty burn.

I pulled the ribs out of the pan and as you can see from the picture, the meat had pulled back from the bones and was so tender that because I was a bit careless in lifting the ribs from the pan, you can see how they started falling apart.
I transferred the ribs to a cookie sheet covered in foil and brushed the ribs with the quarter cup of reserved marinade.  I then threw them under the broiler on high for about five minutes to get that "grill almost burnt bits" flavor.

Oh boy, let me tell you they were GOOD.  I love the whole salty/sweet combination of the soy and sugar.  Only wish I could've used a bit more of the chili sauce because I could tell that just a bit more bite (there was a bit of the chili flavor but none of the heat) they would've been out of this world.  As was, my daughter informed me it was "De. Lih. SHIS!" and I was rather moany groany ate too much myself for a couple hours later.

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