Who doesn't love a nice sticky rack of ribs? Funny thing is I'd actually been craving for ribs ever since going on holiday with my family to New Zealand. Of course we would talk about food, and ribs were brought up but we never actually got to have any. Since coming back from the trip I wanted to try and cook them at home. I'm not sure why I hadn't done so earlier but I think I was under the impression that ribs were really hard to cook.
New Year's was approaching so I invited the extended family over for a BBQ on New Year's Eve. My parents were away at the time so I was left to prepare and cook for approximately 20 hungry mouths that afternoon all by myself. Okay, so I did get some help cooking the meats on the bbq, and getting my potatoes peeled, but I was pretty much left to planning and executing the whole thing by myself to the suprise of my uncle and aunty and grandparents. Mum is known as the big cook in the family and I guess they were always under the impression that I was her side kick. My menu consisted of pork ribs, t-bone steaks, lamb chops, bbq'd corn, roast potatoes, sauteed beans, garlic bread and salad.
These ribs have now become a family favourite ever since I started making them way back then, continually improving the flavour and cooking technique each time I make them. Mum is constantly bringing home gifts of rib racks from the butchers because she sees how much the sibblings (and sibbling's friends) enjoy eating them. Everytime ribs are on the menu my little brother thinks we're a restaurant and invites friends over for dinner.
The original recipe for these was found on the taste website. It's actually a recipe for sticky smoky spicy ribs cooked over a bbq but I usually start it off in the oven and finish it over a coal bbq. Finishing them off in the oven is also fine if the bbq is not running when you are making these. You just lose out on the smokiness but I havn't had any complaints about that. I'll give you the recipe as original, just multiply the quantities accordingly to how many ribs you'll be cooking. The actual quantities that I personally use may vary slightly, as I measure with my eye most of the time, but it all comes down to the taste.
I also started off buying the American style pork racks, but Mum has been bringing home all sorts of different ribs for me to try out from our local Vietnamese butcher (trying to find a better and cheaper cut, ribs are not cheap considering there's more bone than meat, but there's more meat than ribs on an animal so I suppose that's why they're pricey to buy).
We've settled on a perfect cut of rib that has quite a bit of meat still attached on both sides of the bone (which is actually quite thin, maybe it is a short rib?), and has a nice amount of fat so releases plenty of juice when cooked which helps to keep them quite juicey during the cooking process. I would have no clue what they are called but they are actually really hard to get, some days they'll have one or two small racks only and Mum will buy them and stockpile for the weekend.
You can really use any style of rib that you can get your hands on. The fattier and meatier they are, the better or else you end up with a very dry rack of ribs after the long slow cooking. But I guess it's personal preference. I like my ribs to still have a nice amount of meat on them once they are cooked through. And the meat needs to be nice and tender, almost falling off the bone.
Recipe: Sticky BBQ Pork Ribs (recipe adapted from taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 2 x 680g racks Aussie-style pork ribs (or any other ribs will do)
- 1 tablespoon corn flour
1. Combine all the ingredients in a dish.
2. Coat the ribs in the marinade, cover and refridgerate overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place ribs into a roasting tray and bast generously with the marinade, reserve any remaining marinade. Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes. Turn the ribs and bast them again with the marinade and cook for another 45 minutes.
4. Take out the ribs and pour the pan juices into the remaining marinade and return the ribs to the oven.
5. Place the marinade and pan juices into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced and thick.
6. Combine the corn flour with a small amount of cold water to dissolve and stir into the sauce. Take off the heat.
7. Take the ribs out and pour the sauce over them. Cook over a smokey bbq or in the oven uncovered until the sauce caramelises and the ribs are sticky. Turn and coat the other side for even coverage.
8. Serve with some roast potatoes or chips and extra sauce on the side.
(I usually don't garnish my ribs but these were being taken to a birthday party, I wanted them to look a bit more presentable so sprinkled over some sliced shallots that were already in the fridge)
I recently had a request for these from a friend celebrating her 21st birthday. She'd had my ribs at my sisters 21st (though they still had heaps of improvement needed back then) and when I asked what she wanted me to bring to the bbq, ribs were immediately requested. At first I was reluctant to because ribs arn't cheap to buy and I was worried there just wouldn't be enough to go around. In the end I gave in and got Mum to buy me 3 kilos worth. I cut them up into individual ribs and even made a note to get people to just take one first so that most people had a chance to try them out (mum's idea). I finished them in the oven at home and stuck them into a styrofoam box to keep them warm to take to the park. At the end of it the box was empty - always a good sign.
We had ribs again this weekend. Though they wern't my best batch as I was a little rush with a change of schedule. They were meant to be Saturday's dinner but then were changed to Sunday dinner and then last minute were changed to Saturday lunch. I just didn't have the time to let them cook as long as I wanted as I needed the oven to cook other things for the lunch too. I also had a birthday cake order to do so spent my entire Saturday in the kitchen. No complaints though which is always a good thing.