Friday, January 22, 2010

Southern Style Ribs

I have to apologize up front to all the vegetarians out there. My husband Ace thinks eating meat ribs is probably the highest form of barbarian revelry known to the culinary world. Sucking on the bone carcass of a poor creature just grosses him out. So, is it any wonder that the only time I ever make ribs is when he leaves on a business trip? I cooked half and put the second half in the freezer for later...like tonight. Evil and wrong as my husband thinks it is, I happen to like tender pieces of juice laden carne falling off the rib bone. There's something cave woman about it. It makes me want to wear leather and spike heels. It's hot.
When you happen to freezer cooked meat, it gets more tender and delicious. Why is that? It's a process called drip loss. Now in my case we chill things before we freeze them so we don't get a lot of liquid dripping off the once frozen product. Drip loss is the term used for leakage of moisture during the defrosting process. Water expands as it turns to ice, causing the food fibers to splinter and break. This is what causes limp or soggy textures after defrosting frozen vegetables. If food is chilled before freezing ice crystals that form will be smaller causing less damage to fibers of food and less drip loss. The result is better texture and flavor, especially in cooked meats. It actually acts as a tenderizing process. Isn't that amazing?
So, how do you cook a good rib? I start with a good season rub. Probably my personal favorites are D-dog's apple or peach rub, but his maple comes in a close third. Love them all.
My Southern Style Ribs
6 lbs baby back pork ribs
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup mustard (prepared like French's)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp hot sauce
1T BBQ rub or your choice or Chef Tess All Purpose seasoning
Cut the ribs into serving size pieces. Place ribs in a roasting pan and season generously with BBQ rub or seasoning. Bake in 325 degree oven 1 1/2 hour until cooked through.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes or until thickened and reduced to a syrup. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Take the ribs out of the oven. Brush the sauce over the ribs. Reduce oven heat to 300. bake uncovered, basting occasionally. Bake 1 hour longer until ribs are tender. Remove from oven.
OR alternate cooking method:
Skip oven baking all together and place ribs and reduced sauce in a crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours
Yields 6-8 servings. Serve some for dinner tonight with baked beans sweet potatoes and Cole slaw. We made sweet potato french fries. It was awesome.
For a freezer dinner, allow meat to cool until you can handle it. Place 4 servings in a gallon size freezer bag, labeled. Lay flat and cool in the fridge. When very cold, place in freezer. Freeze flat for optimum freezer space.
To heat:
Place on oven rack out of bag. Bake 375 degrees 35-40 minutes until heated through.
Microwave: 2-3 ribs 4-5 minutes from frozen.

There you go.

2 comments:

clan of the cave hair said...

Be still my beating heart, this Cave Woman LOVES ribs! I almost never make them though, because even though I am married to a true carnivore, he believes ribs are a waste of time and energy. (Too much work for too little meat.) I however LOVE them and make him suffer through them whenever I find them on sale.

Chef Tess said...

See...I knew it was very "cave woman" to like ribs! Ha!