Sunday, September 28, 2014

Saucy Pork Spare Ribs - my secret is out!

Pork ribs are one of those things that have to be done right. I can't emphasis enough how the meat has to be tender and melt in the mouth. There is nothing worse than chewy meat that gets stuck in teeth, well there is, but work with me for a little bit.

About 8 years ago, I was sitting in a hotel in Edmonton Canada watching the Food Network because it was -25C outside. I had an 8 month old baby having his morning nap and I was armed with JalapeƱo Cheese Tostios, root beer - the real stuff, and double stuffed fudge dipped Oreos. I could watch as much TV as I wanted to watch and anything I wanted to watch. Flashback to one week earlier I was at home in balmy Sydney, Australia switching between Dora the Annoying Explora and the Koala Brothers to appease my other two kids. So I was in a little bit of heaven, even though I had never experienced any kind of weather that began with minus! This day was significant in my life because it was this exact day that I learned the art of making the best spare ribs known to mankind. I enjoyed ribs before, but really once the FoodNetwork opened my eyes to the truth, I realised I was just tolerating ribs!!

The secret to the best ribs, I am willing to share with you now. There is no need to overload on junk food while you read, nor is it necessary to watch snow fall nor is it necessary for it to be -25C outside, though hahaha, if it is!!  The secret is simple. Slow cook (on low) those babies in a bath of flavoured water for 4-6hours!  That is it. Then you carefully drown them in delicious sweet sauce (my own secret recipe) and bake them until the sauce caramelises and burns a little. Its the best way to enjoy pork ribs. As you eat them, you know it was meant to be and you have just been tolerating spare ribs in the past.

 4 racks of pork spare ribs
6-10 black pepper corns
4 bay leaves
4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons powdered chicken stock
2 onions quartered
4-6 cloves of garlic - whole
generous sprinkle of sea salt flakes.

My Secret Sauce
400ml Heinz Ketchup
200ml BBQ sauce (Aussie style)
3/4 - 1  cup brown sugar
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayene pepper (optional)
2 tbs white wine vinegar -

**please note when I make the sauce, I don't usually measure my ingredients so use this as a guide and taste before you use it. Ketchup needs to be the main character. You could use tomato puree if you wish, but then you would have to increase the amounts of the spices and other ingredients. You want to achieve a sweet, mildly savoury and spicy sauce. You have to have the brown sugar so the sauce caramelises and burns a little, but you can use honey if that floats your boat. **

What do I do?
Place the ribs in your slow cooker. My slow cooker is quite large, so if yours is smaller you might want to cut up your ribs to fit. Place all ingredients in then mix the chicken stock powder with the warm water and pour over ribs. Ribs need to be submerged so add more if needs be. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. I have cooked on high before, but low really is better.

Turn oven on to 200C, make the sauce by add all ingredients and whisking it until combined and smooth. You could also whizz it up in your HMP or food processor.  Line a baking tray with foil. The ribs will be tender and break easily, so using tongs carefully place ribs on the lined baking tray. Spoon sauce to cover the ribs. Spray with some oil and place in oven for about 20mins.

I made these last night, but I didn't put enough brown sugar in because they didn't burn like I prefer them to. None the less, they were super tender and devourable - if that is a word, which computer is saying no! I married them with my Heart Attack potato bake. Everyone said yum as they licked there lips and fingers!

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