What is it about sticky pork ribs that makes them such a big hit? These suckers can get quite messy to devour (cue finger bowls and napkins), but there is just something about the syrupy, flavoursome sauce, enveloping every inch of the succulent meat that makes it just oh so tantalizing!
The following recipe, from "Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone" does great justice to a rack of pork ribs, lathering them in a wonderful homemade barbecue sauce. The list of ingredients may seem a little daunting at first, but the method is so easy - all you need is time, and let the slow simmering do the hard work for you.
It's best to begin preparing the ribs well in advance, up to two days ahead, to make sure they have time to marinate and soak in the flavours from the dry rub and the sauce. The only problem I encountered was that, although delicious, my finished sauce was quite sharp in flavour and not sweet enough for my liking (I'm wondering if adding honey would help to make it more sticky and syrupy?). As the ribs are quite punchy, I simply served them with steamed white rice and a crisp salad on the side. Delish!
Dry Rub and Ribs:
1 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet or hot paprika
1 kg meaty baby back pork ribs
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cups beef stock
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup distilled white vinegar
¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs steak sauce
1½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce
Mix the Cajun seasoning, oregano, cumin, and paprika in a small bowl to blend, and rub the mixture all over the ribs. Wrap the ribs in heavy-duty foil, encasing them completely, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the wrapped ribs on a heavy baking sheet and bake in the foil for about 1hour, or until the meat is very tender. Unwrap the ribs and let them cool.
Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce: Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Mix in the beef stock and all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly.
Coat the ribs with half of the sauce and marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature or for up to 1 day in the refrigerator. Reserve the remaining barbecue sauce.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the ribs on a foil-lined baking tray and roast, uncovered, basting often with some of the remaining barbecue sauce, for about 25 minutes, or until the ribs are heated through. Rewarm the remaining sauce and serve it alongside the ribs.
American Barbecued Baby Back Ribs