Continuing on the "Where did our BBQ season go?" and "Recipes that take long but are technically easy" themes, I present to you these ribs from Smitten Kitchen.
Now you can enjoy ribs year-round, and you will even want to make them in the oven on a hot summer day - the oven doesn't go very hot anyway, and you also free up grill space to make other foods. And yes, the recipe takes a *scary* six hours, but you don't have to do very much - mix up a spice rub, rub down the ribs, wrap the ribs in foil and put them in the oven, turn the oven down at hour 4, and finally, make up a sweet, smoky, sticky sauce.
We used "extra meaty" back ribs instead of spareribs, and they still ended up fully cooked, moist and flavourful. The spice rub is open to tweaking - I, for one, would definitely be adding cumin to it for a little more smoky flavour.
It was only after I started preparing to blog this recipe and did the nutrition analysis that I realized it's actually not very good for you. It all comes down to portion size - I think we tend to underestimate how much meat is actually on a rack of ribs; according to the Canadian Nutrient File, a rack of ribs is only about 27% bone, so a 5 lb rack of ribs works out to about 3½ lb of meat, or 14 oz meat per person (!!) So if you want the recipe to be reasonable, you should be serving it to about 19 people, which, if you're lucky, would probably work out to one single rib per person.
I think I'm ok just filing it into my "this is unhealthy" box. (More ribs for me!)
Sweet & Smoky Oven Ribs
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 4 generous servings
- 1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar, packed
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) chili powder (preferably ancho), or paprika
- 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
- 2 tsp (10 mL) garlic powder
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) cloves, or allspice
- ½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
- 5 lb (2.3 kg) pork spareribs (side ribs), though back ribs are ok too
- 2 tsp (10 mL) mild or hot pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika), Hungarian or regular paprika would probably work too
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar or white/red wine vinegar
Nutrition Info (per serving): 1329 calories, 80 g fat (30 g saturated), 317 mg cholesterol, 58 g carbohydrate (2 g fibre, 54 g sugar), 62 g protein, 1537 mg sodium. An excellent source of thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium. A good source of copper.
- Preheat oven to 200˚F (95˚C). In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder or paprika, salt, garlic powder, cloves and cinnamon; you can do this easily with a fork. Place each slab of ribs on a piece of foil large enough to fold into a packet. Sprinkle spice rub over the ribs, patting it in generously on all sides. Turn the ribs meat side down and tightly fold the foil to make sealed packets - make sure the seal is *tight*! Otherwise, the juice will leak out of the packet and leave you with dry ribs.
- Put a rack on a baking sheet (a cookie cooling rack works for this), put ribs on rack and place in the oven. (Alternatively, you can place your ribs directly on your upper oven rack and put a large baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.) Bake for 4 hours at 200˚, then reduce the temperature to 175˚F (80˚C) for another two hours or until a fork easily penetrates the meat. Open each packet carefully and pour the accumulated juices into a saucepan. Boil the juices and reduce them by half, at which point you will have a syrupy sauce that easily coats a spoon. Stir in paprika and vinegar.
- Serve ribs with sauce drizzled on top or on the side, depending on your preference. For extra caramelization, you may want to stick your ribs under the broiler for a few minutes before pouring sauce on top.