Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ribs, Mac n Peas

I know I owe you guys my post on the beef burgers, which I had written, but for some strange reason it disappeared from my laptop. Worry not, I can always rewrite it. Today’s culinary adventure however, couldn’t really wait to be told…

It was one of those days with mid morning rain that seemed to have no end, and I thanked God that I was home and not out trying to navigate my way through it. I also gave thanks that I was able to just stay home and putter around in my tiny kitchen. Had some fun the night before making a simple dinner of egg salad on toast, and the taste was something I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. I used some fresh thyme, chives and parsley in there, and it really upped the flavour content tremendously.
But enough about eggs. My focus – make that my craving – on that rainy Saturday was for barbecued ribs.

As it’s coming close to month end when the stocks tend to dwindle, I had decided to do a nice lunch of ribs, mac and cheese and some green peas on the side, just for the sake of cooking something different. Normally, it’s soup on a Saturday in T&T, but sometimes you just have to feed the need (you know what I’m saying?). Plus, I consider this rib recipe of mine one of my special successes, in that I got my boy Errol to fall in love with them, and pork is not a favourite of his at all. Since then, whenever I say I’m doing ribs, he always smiles and gives me an expectant, “Okay!” 

After dinner last night I took some time out to thaw my racks of ribs, procured by my home girl Hazel all the way in Caroni – it was a meat sale, what can I tell you? (Yeah, that’s how we roll!)

So… let’s get to the action!

The preliminary seasoning began with me peeling off the inside membrane of the ribs and cutting the racks into three-bone servings. I then squeezed on the juice of a fresh lime and a couple capfuls of apple cider vinegar (usually the lime is enough, but I had a small one). After that I let them sit for about 20 minutes while I prepared my dry rub.

In this little bowl I have a mix of 2 tablespoons of granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 2 teaspoons of paprika, 2 tablespoons jerk powder, 1 teaspoon of allspice, ¼ teaspoon of grated nutmeg, 1 heaping tablespoon of ginger powder, some red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon (plus a teaspoon) of brown sugar.

So, to get them on the ribs, simply get a plate and a teaspoon. Place your rib on the plate, grab a teaspoon of rub and sprinkle it on. Shake off the excess, turn it over and repeat. You can dip the edges in the rub left on the plate so there’s no wastage.

Place on your baking sheet. I’m using a Silpat (a non-stick silicone sheet) on mine, but you can line yours with foil, or, take your cooling rack and put that on top of the baking sheet and place your ribs on it.

All coated!

Once that was done, I left them to absorb some the rub for about 30 minutes average. However, I left mine for 40 minutes, simply because I needed to get my sides going.

First, the Mac & Cheese. I made it according to the steps on the box, but  I used low fat milk and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter instead.

Then the green peas, which I zested up with some chopped onion and homemade seasoning.

The ribs got covered tightly in foil and were placed on the lowest rack of a 375°F oven and cook for 40 minutes. Trust me, the smell that hit as it cooked literally had me drooling.
In the meantime, my second Silpat covered baking sheet was on standby for the next step… coating with the barbecue sauce!

Out of the oven and they’re looking great! Transferred the pieces to my second baking sheet and working quickly, I poured off the excess drippings from the first and measured out a little less than a cup or so of barbecue sauce.  Using my basting brush, I slathered the sauce well into the ribs, which stayed curved side down for easier handling. Returned them to (the top shelf of the oven) this time for 10 minutes at 350°F.

Second basting. The ribs were flipped over and the process was repeated with the remaining sauce. This time, they stayed in the oven for 8 minutes.

Here they are, cooked to perfection and looking good!

Lunchtime! Here's my plate of ribs, green peas, mac n cheese and a little lettuce. YUM!

So there you have it… tasty, yummilicious oven barbecued ribs that are finger-sucking good! I’ll be honest. These ribs even bring out my inner cavewoman. There’s nothing like grabbing up your meat in your hands and using your teeth to tear off bits a deliciously seasoned flesh, that are just the right combination of sweet, hot and spicy. (And yes, Errol was in his glee!)

Have some fun trying this one out, my dears. Until we meet again, take care of yourselves, and like I always say… don’t forget to mind the pot!