Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spare Ribs, Slow in a Flash

“What are you doing?” asked my husband.  He eyed me incredulously as I opened a package of uncooked spareribs three minutes before we were leaving to meet friends. 

“I’m making spare ribs for dinner.  I’ll be ready to go in one minute,” I replied as I tossed them with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and brown sugar.  These were singles—already cut apart---and I stacked the seasoned ribs against the sides of a crock pot, meaty side facing the pot’s inner surface.  The curve of each rib matched that of the pot perfectly. (Two full racks can fit with the ribs standing up.)   I turned the crock pot to low and was finished prepping dinner.  Washing my hands took longer than preparing the ribs.  We left on time. 

When we got back 3 hours later, the ribs were cooked but not yet truly tender.  A small pool of fat had fallen to the center of the crock pot.  I turned the heat to high and left them another hour.  When the meat was falling off the bone, I removed the ribs and let them drain on a few paper towels.  Later we reheated the ribs in a hot oven (375˚F at least) where the edges crisped and a light coating of BBQ sauce formed a glossy coating. These ribs are served with more warmed BBQ sauce on the side for those who like their ribs well sauced.

Any favorite BBQ sauce  will do.  My BBQ sauce is “ketchup & molasses” based and has a touch of orange in it.  Come by and try it sometime. 

Crock Pot Spice Rub for one rack of spare ribs:
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Acknowledgment: Versions of this clever technique can be found around the internet.  I learned the base technique from About.com but apply a simpler (faster) rub and "finish" the ribs in the oven, away from the extruded fat.  You can use this easy technique during the summer months too and finish the ribs on the grill rather then the oven.  Keeps the kitchen cool.

What Goes with Ribs?
My favorite side with ribs is collard greens, another simple to prepare dish that only requires time to develop its personality (like ribs).  See my recipe in the Feb. 25, 2010 entry of PureFoodsProject.  Another nice side is corn pudding.  Find it in the Oct. 26, 2011 entry.