For those about to grill…

Originally posted March 2012.

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…I sa-lute you. Seriously. Not only have we been fortunate enough to have a mild winter here in Jersey, spring is HERE. While part of me wants to call Al Gore and make sure that this is not actually a sign of our imminent demise by greenhouse gases, part of me is just really happy that sludgy-grey snow hasn’t been lingering on the fringes of the highways for eight weeks.

So, I mean, if someone wanted to break out their grill today, I’d understand. Or at least, think they aren’t crazy. I’d classify my vow that when I get my own place with an actual yard and ample milling about space, I want to host a huge potluck Thanksgiving dinner where I will deep-fry a turkey. Y’know, outdoors.

But back to grilling. I don’t have a grill. Yet. Nor do I have adequate grilling space, though I assure you, I have every intent of getting my hands on a little charcoal-burnin’ baby and making do with what space I’ve got. But for now, an oven has to suffice, so I can make these tried-and-true ribs.

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I found this recipe when I was still living in my old apartment, and really wanted to try making ribs, sans grill (since they weren’t allowed. Technically. Though probably a third of the tenants had little grills outside.) I had found a smoky, sweet, dry-rub recipe and tried that, but found I wasn’t too nuts about it. Colin enjoyed them, but I think that’s just because he’s hard-wired to love all ribs. I like my barbecue (Southerners everywhere are grabbing pitchforks and torches at the mere mention that my oven can produce something that anyone would classify as barbecue, I’m sure) savory and a bit kicky, not sweet. And I wanted a recipe that would be done in less than three hours. So many oven rib recipes require very low temperatures, and therefore, VERY long cooking times. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon; not so much for a Wednesday night.

Anyhow, this recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse. The cooking time is an hour and a half, the prep time is manageable and, as I’m about to demonstrate, can be tweaked pretty easily.

First, the recipe calls for baby back ribs. Which, don’t get me wrong, are totally delicious. They are also, however, very expensive. So while I originally shelled out the cash for the baby backs, I’ve done it with regular ol’ ribs, and the results are fine. I also tweaked the spices, measurements and type of vinegar because, frankly, I think cider vinegar has more of a place in barbecue sauce than white vinegar. I have no real scientific evidence to back that claim up. I also originally subbed in regular Dijon mustard for dry mustard, because I didn’t have dry mustard on hand. I do have some now, but I decided to keep with tradition.

I served these bad boys with some salad (gotta include something healthy SOMEWHERE, bathing suit season is a-comin’!) and homemade fries with a sort-of-remoulade-that-originally-started-out-as-garlic-aioli dipping sauce.

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Yes, yes, I know, all you Cajuns and New Orleanians are going to join the Southerners in their march against me butchering their cuisine.

RIIIIIIIIIBS. (yoinked and tweaked from Emeril, The Food Network)

1 lb ribs (I used country-style, you could use baby back)
2 cups ketchup OR 1 1/2 cups ketchup and 1/2 cup mild chili sauce (y’know, if you’re low on ketchup and happen to have chili sauce in the fridge.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp mustard
2 tsp cayenne pepper OR 1 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp coriander
salt and pepper 

Preheat your oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (this keeps the ribs from sticking to the baking sheet AND makes cleanup infinitely easier).

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Combine all ingredients, except your ribs, in a bowl and mix well; season with salt and pepper. Lay your ribs out on your lined baking sheet and season those with salt and pepper as well. Cover them with half of your sauce, then bake for 45 minutes. Remove them from the oven, turn and coat with the rest of your sauce. Bake for another 45 minutes.

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Side note: If you open your oven to take out/turn/inhale the deliciousness of your sauce while wearing glasses, they WILL fog up. 

Cut into individual ribs and serve with your side(s) of choice. 

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Happy eating!

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