Come on, grab a pig rib.
The juicy meat is handsomely glazed, tender enough to pull apart with your fingers, but somehow stays on the bone until those bossy pearly-whites take hold.
Of course, ribs roast-smoked on the ‘cue are scrumptious, but if you want a very, very easy approach to luscious ribs, cook those beauties in the oven. Oh, I can hear the groans coming from purists. Calm down. It’s about good eats for the game.
Of course, there are a plethora of barbecue sauces in the marketplace and you could serve your favorite one of those. But if you want to spend about 45 minutes simmering your own concoction, take a look at my pal Tillie Clements’ “Secret Barbecue Sauce.”
Clements is the retired food columnist at the Orange County Register. Her sauce packs a sweet-sour-spicy punch in an irresistible way. She says it’s so good you could eat it for breakfast.
It can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for two weeks. You can serve it as an optional topping for smoked ribs, or use it to marinate ribs and cook them in the oven, first topped with aluminum foil, then browned for 45 to 60 minutes without the foil.
Provide generous amounts of napkins and moist towelettes for guests to use to cleanse hands and kissers. At my house, instead of napkins, I offer inexpensive washcloths tied with ribbons in Super Bowl team colors.
Party on, rib lovers.
Tillie’s Secret BBQ Sauce
Yield: 6 cups
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup minced garlic, about 8 to 10 medium cloves, 5 to 6 large cloves
1 (28-ounce) bottle of inexpensive or store-brand BBQ sauce (no smoke flavoring), see cook’s notes
1 1/2 (packed) cups dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 tablespoon(s) dried red pepper flakes
1 cup strong coffee (decaf is OK)
3/4 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup maple syrup, amount depends on your sweet tooth
Cook’s notes: I use 1 1/2 (18-ounce) bottles of Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Que Sauce. Use one that has tomato paste or sauce listed either first or second on the ingredient list.
1. In a nonreactive Dutch oven or 5-quart saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Add all remaining ingredients except syrup. Simmer vigorously 30 minutes, reducing heat to medium-low as needed. Taste; it should be strong and spicy. Add syrup to desired sweetness and simmer vigorously 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and chill before use. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated, well-sealed, up to 2 weeks.
Nutrition information (per tablespoon): 39 calories, 25 percent of calories from fat, 1 g fat, 0.1 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrates, 0.2 g protein, 400 mg sodium, 0.2 g fiber
Source: Tillie Clements, retired Register food columnist
Simple Oven “Barbecued” Baby Back Ribs
Yield: 5 to 6 servings
2 racks baby back pork ribs, membranes removed, see cook’s notes
3 3/4 cups barbecue sauce, such as Tillie’s Secret Barbecue Sauce or your favorite store-bought sauce, divided use
Coarse salt, such as kosher, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cook’s notes: Membranes are removed from some racks if baby back ribs. If the membrane is intact, remove it.To remove the membrane, place rib racks meat side down on baking sheet; remove thin, papery membrane from back of the rack by inserting a slender implement, such as a butter knife under it. The best place to start is on one side of the middle bones. Using a dishcloth or paper towel grip and peel off membrane.
1. Place ribs in large, shallow roasting pan and cover with 3 cups sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate 2 to 6 hours. Remove from refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Leave foil in place and bake 50 minutes. Remove foil, pour 1/2 cup sauce on top of ribs and bake 45 minutes longer. Remove from oven and drizzle remaining 1/4 cup sauce on top. Allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve cut into portions of 2 to 3 ribs. If desired, serve warm sauce on side.
Nutrition information (per serving): 450 calories, 45 percent of calories from fat, 21 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 41 g protein, 890 mg sodium, 0.2 g fiber
FOR more rib recipes and a luscious chocolate Bundt cake recipe, go to the story as it appeared in the Orange County Register http://www.ocregister.com/articles/ribs-414015-sauce-cup.html
Register photographer Nick Koon shoots warm ribs on a platter.