If there are two words that make my heart beat faster, it would be Pork ribs (always together).
If you are lucky you may know a few restaurants which do a killer pork ribs dish. But if you are really lucky, you might know a butcher who supplies you fresh pork ribs to make your own! God, knows how hard it is to find some pork ribs around here. (If you do know a place that has fresh pork ribs, please let me know!)
We are huge pork fans, the lot of us at home. We have pork in every which way possible – curried, bistek, grilled, roasted, as fillings in sandwiches, in dumplings, mixed in rice, etc, etc, etc, there really isn’t an end to what you can do with this versatile ingredient. But when we find some pork ribs, it is a special occasion. One reason it being so hard to find, at least for us, the other reason being, the flavour of the ribs is simply unparalleled.
And for me, pork is the bestest meat in the world!
The other half avoids pork like the plague though. Really, he doesn’t know what he’s missing.
Anyways, my mother managed to find some pork ribs the other day (oh jubilation!) and I set to work mixing, broiling and grilling. It was wonderful!
- Prep Time : 5 minutes
- Cook Time : 2h 00 min
- Yield : 4
- Pork ribs - 1 rack
- For the rub
- Ginger, minced - 3 tsps
- Garlic, minced - 2 tblsps
- Honey - 3 tblsps
- Mustard paste - t tblsp
- Paprika - 2 tsps
- Chilli powder - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
- Pepper - 2 tsps
- For the BBQ sauce
- Garlic, minced - 8 cloves
- Brown sugar - 1/2 cup
- Diced onion - 1/2 cup
- Cider vinegar (or apple juice) - 1/2 cup
- Worcestershire sauce - 1 tblsp
- Chilli powder - 2 tsps
- Ground mustard - 2 tblsps
- Wash the ribs with water. Pat it dry with kitchen towels. Remove the silverskin (this is the thin layer of tissue that is found on the underside of the ribs)
- Combine all the ingredients for the rub. Rub the ribs thoroughly with the mixture. Marinade for 3 hours in the ride, covered.
To make the sauce
- Sautee the onions and the garlic in a saucepan with a little oil until golden brown. Add in all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
- Preheat the oven. Brush the ribs generously with the sauce. Cover the ribs completely with foil paper from the top. Bake at 150C for 3 hours, brushing the ribs occasionally with the bbq sauce.
- Once the 3 hours is up and the meat has been thoroughly cooked through, turn on the grill. Grill the ribs on both sides until nicely browned. Brush with more bbq sauce before serving.
I served these with my signature, low-butter but awesomely delicious mashed potatoes and buttered veggies. Of course this can be served with potato wedges, a salad, bread, rice or simply by itself.
By the time the ribs have undergone the whole ordeal, the flesh is simply melting in the mouth! A dark, syrupy brown on the outside but a juicy pink on the inside, the sauce has formed a thick coating on the ribs by now and it has penetrated the meat, creating a sweet-spicy-sour combination upon soft, dark meat. Every mouthful is an orchestra of flavours – soft, gentle music, not disturbing but bursting with flavour, irregular twists and turns that give this dish life. Sometimes you are met with the heat of the paprika, sometimes the chilli burns the tongue. And just when you thought it was all over, the sweet brings it all together and you are in the 7th heaven of delight. The sweet-spicy of the sauce gives way to the piquant marinade inside to a tender, succulent and juicy flesh that is softer than the softest meat you’ve ever encountered. You need to dig in with both your hands for this one. The thick, stickiness of the syrup, the yielding meat. You will find yourself scraping up the last bit of the BBQ sauce + baking juices with ribs/bread or with your fingers or sucking at the ribs even when you’ve scraped the last bit of meat off because it’s just a crime to let anything go to waste!
I sincerely hope I converted at least one non-pork eater to try out this beauty.
And if anyone knows where I could get good pork ribs, please by all means, drop me a message! You will have my eternal gratitude, and who knows even a nicely prepared pork ribs dish or two ;)
- Make sure you take out the silverskin. This helps the marinade to penetrate through the flesh and make the dish more flavoursome.
- Don’t want to go to the trouble of making the barbeque sauce? No problem! You can use your favourite barbeque sauce instead. Make sure it’s a sweet-sour sauce. I have found that this flavour combination is what works best with pork ribs.
- If your oven doesn’t have the grill option, (or the fuse blows every time you switch on the grill, like mine does *sigh*), you can do it on a regular skillet. Simply put a skillet on low heat and place the ribs on it. Grill on either side till suitably brown. Alternatively, if you own a barbeque, then you have your problem sorted.
- Watch the oven. Make sure it’s on low enough to not burn the meat and dry it out but high enough to cook the insides. A middle low temperature is best but do check on your ribs occasionally to make sure that all is well in the oven region.