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Friday, February 3, 2012

Gimme Some Ribs and Make It Fast!

I hesitate to mention ribs.  A thousand cooks, two thousand recipes.  But, believe it or not, there are some feckless souls who still think if they’re pressed for time, they have to go to Chili’s (gag reflex kicks in like a substance abusing mule).
Let’s bring in some sunshine, shift into sixth gear, mix some metaphors, and grab a rack (ribs, you pervert) and get cookin’.  First thing you need are some pork ribs.  I go for the full sized (unfrozen), rather than the baby backs, or the St Louis cut.  No particular reason except I find the full sized usually keep their flavor and juice a bit better.
Next, start a big pot of boiling water, drop in the ribs and let ‘em boil for 45 minutes to an hour.  I know what you’re thinkin’. All the flavor boils away.  Wait until you taste the results, open a bottle of red, fanny whooping wine, then make a more informed decision.
While the ribs boil, mix your dry rub:

1 portion salt
1 portion pepper
1/2 portion paprika
1/4 portion ground chipotle pepper. 

Mix well. You could use regular cayenne pepper, but chipotle adds a smoky flavor.  Whatever you use, make enough rub to really give the rack a thorough dusting.  If you have any left over, save it in a jar and use it for any meat you stick on the grill or in the oven, chicken, beef, or pork.
Now make simple syrup of 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of water.  Cook until all the sugar dissolves. For those of you who don’t want to use sugar, slap yourself hard across both cheeks, then follow the damn recipe. Interesting to note a can of Coke has about 3 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar, although American Coke uses high fructose corn syrup, even worse.
Heat your oven to 350ºF or 180ºC.
Take the boiled ribs out of the water and pat them very dry.  Use a paint brush to brush both sides of the ribs with the simple syrup. Don’t soak the ribs, just give them a quick paintjob.  Now scatter the dry rub heavily on the painted ribs.  Don’t be shy! You’re not salting scrambled eggs, you’re making ribs, hombre! If you’re thinking, whoops, that’s too much – it’s probably about right.
Put some foil on a baking sheet, drop the ribs on top and slide them in the oven.  20 minutes later you’ll have perfectly browned, crispy outside and tender inside ribs, with a robust flavor.  They’ll slide right off the bone.  You’ve just made ribs worth fighting for in about an hour and a half.  And if you hold anything sacred, for the love of heaven, never go to Chili’s again.


  1. Best ribs I've ever had were not far from Torrejon AB, on the way to Madrid. It catered to the americanos. Served with sangria... ay, ay,ay! Bill, I bet you ate there.

  2. On the recipe above: Sorry Bill. Real ribs are done outside, over a hot mesquite or real charcoal grill. No oven for me. Handy, though. And could be tasty, if done right. But, ribs? Come on... finger licking, a Shinner in the ice cooler, and grilled corn on the cob. Mmmmmm...

  3. Went to the TJ rib shack. Wasn't impressed. Place was blown up in the mid 1980s. Everyone thought "terrorist" but turned out it was someone who had a beef with the owner. Pun intended.