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Ribs to the rescue

Christopher Page, Wikimedia Commons

Celebrate Father’s Day this year with some barbecued ribs.


It’s the time of year when we foodies love to do some outdoor grilling, especially ribs. An old-fashioned grill heated with oak and manzanita wood from our property is my go-to method for ribs, but there are other ways that produce excellent results.

If you would like to celebrate Father’s Day (Sunday, June 19) with a meal centered around some delicious pork or beef ribs, I have rounded up a few recipes that might suit you.

My dad was famous (in our small town, anyway) for his barbecue skills, but he did not cook ribs all that often. He much preferred to special order some thick, ribeye steaks from the local butcher shop, or perhaps he would grill chickens split in half, sometimes quartered. Once in a while we would have barbecued rabbit, as he raised them for that purpose.

When it came to steak, my dad could not understand why I always preferred mine very rare. He would grumble about it, but cooked it to order.

All in all, we had a lot of smiles around the table at dinner time. Here’s hoping you have an enjoyable Father’s Day.

Crock pot ribs

3 tablespoons smoked (or regular) paprika

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper (I’m sorry, but I just can’t make myself use that much pepper, so 1

teaspoon suits me much better.)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less)

6 pounds St. Louis-style pork spareribs or baby back ribs

1 jar (24-oz.) of your favorite barbecue sauce

1/4 cup cider vinegar (if the barbecue sauce is very sweet)

1. Set the slow cooker to LOW and spray with nonstick cooking spray. If it hasn’t already been done, remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Rub the dry mix evenly over the ribs.

3. Brush both sides of the ribs with barbecue sauce and set the ribs in the slow cooker standing upright with the meaty side against the inside wall of the slow cooker.

4. Pour the remaining barbecue sauce over the ribs. If using a sweet sauce, pour the cider vinegar over the ribs.

5. Cover and cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours or until the meat is fork-tender. 6. To serve, slice the meat between the bones and serve with barbecue sauce.

Ribs in the oven

4 pounds baby back pork ribs

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili or cayenne powder (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil


2 cups barbecue sauce

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 to 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat)

1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Peel off tough membrane that covers the underside, bony side of the rubs. Place on a baking sheet or tray lined with foil or parchment paper.

2. Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cumin and chili or cayenne. Sprinkle seasoning over ribs and drizzle with oil. Rub the seasoning all over the ribs on both sides. Cover tray with foil and bake for 2 hours. During the last 5 minutes of cook time, mix together sauce ingredients.

3. Remove ribs from oven, remove foil and spread the tops of the ribs with the barbecue sauce mixture.

4. Increase oven temperature to 460. Return ribs to oven, uncovered, and bake for 10 more minutes. Change oven settings to broil to lightly char and caramelize the edges (about 3 minutes).

5. Rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to recirculate back into the meat before slicing the ribs apart. Makes 4 servings.

Grilled beef ribs

Parboiling or otherwise cooking the raw beef ribs is the way to go, to avoid a greasy mess as the fat renders.

1 small rack beef back ribs (about 3 pounds total), cut in half

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup apple juice

2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon molasses

1 teaspoon instant espresso (or 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee)

Sliced green apple, to garnish

1. Place ribs in heavy large pot. Add seasoned salt, vegetable broth and apple juice plus enough water to cover ribs and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until meat is tender, about 1 hour. Using tongs, remove rib racks from pot. Cool slightly. Cut between bones into individual ribs. (Can be made to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

2. Preheat your outdoor grill to medium heat. In a medium bowl, combine barbecue sauce, cider vinegar, molasses and coffee. Brush ribs with some of the sauce. Grill ribs until brown and thickly glazed, occasionally turning and basting with more sauce, about 10 minutes total. Garnish with green apples. Note: Instead of boiling, you could also pre-cook the ribs in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Braised and barbecued short ribs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons cumin seed

1 teaspoon kosher salt (if using table salt, use half this amount)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 bottles lager beer

1 dried bay leaf

5 pounds beef short ribs (look for large meaty ribs)

1 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Hot pepper sauce, to taste, optional

2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing ribs before grilling

Kosher salt and black pepper, for seasoning ribs before grilling

1. In a large stockpot, add the 1 tablespoon olive oil and bring to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the oregano, cumin seed, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Pour in the lager and add the bay leaf.

3. Place the ribs in the braising liquid, meaty side down, and add just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the ribs are very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 2 to 3 hours. (Braising time will depend upon size of ribs.)

4. Transfer the ribs to a sheet pan to cool. Remove and discard any bones that may have fallen off the ribs in the liquid. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl and discard the solids. Cover and refrigerate the cooled ribs and the braising liquid (separately) until chilled, about 2 hours (or overnight if you wish).

5. For the sauce: Skim the fat from the surface of the liquid. Pour the liquid back into the stockpot (now clean) and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer the liquid until reduced to 3/4 cup, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Stir in the ketchup, molasses, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and season with hot pepper sauce, if desired. Set aside at room temperature.

6. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and cut off any large pieces of exterior fat; this will minimize any grill flare-ups. Brush the ribs with olive oil and season evenly with salt and pepper. Preheat grill to medium and brush the cooking grate clean. Grill the ribs over medium heat until warmed through and the exterior is beginning to turn crispy, turning several times, about 10 minutes.

7. Brush the ribs generously with sauce. Turn the heat up and continue to cook until the meat is glazed, about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from grill and serve warm with remaining sauce. Makes 4 servings.



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