Oven-Baked Barbecue Ribs

Monday, May 27, 2013


This time of year people usually pull out their grills and start cooking outdoors. Except that this Saturday, the start of the Memorial Day weekend, which has come to signify the "unofficial start of summer," it was roughly 45ºF. And raining. So rather than grilling it seemed preferable to stay indoors and turn the oven on. Even just to stay warm.


But despite the weather, during this unofficial start of summer one still craves one of the summer's main entitlements: barbecue. While we still had our fill of spiced meat charred by grill flames at my mom's yesterday, despite winds that threatened to put out the flame, for this recipe I borrowed another one of her methods. It is reserved for colder days, when it is too cold to grill, but the desire for spiced meats is just as strong; so in the oven the spiced meats go.


For this recipe, we use a dry rub which Tony likes to make (you will find the recipe below, appropriately named Tony's Barbecue Rub). If you don't feel like making your own rub or don't have all of the spices on hand, you can pick up a barbecue rub at the store and use the same cooking method. I find that, at least for our oven, cooking the ribs at 400ºF for 40 minutes always makes them come out just right. They are no longer pink yet still moist and juicy. This works for individually sliced spare ribs, spaced about 1 inch apart (timing would differ for a rack cooked whole). You can cook them with just the rub for the entire time and have them with barbecue sauce served at the table. Alternatively you can apply the barbecue sauce while they cook - after applying the rub, stick the ribs in the oven for 30 minutes, then use a brush to apply the sauce to the top of the ribs and cook them for 10 minutes more.


For sides, you can try red cabbage coleslaw, the recipe for which can be found here. We also made sweet potato fries made in the pan with just a little bit of oil. Recipe for those is coming next. In the meantime, enjoy the ribs and happy (almost) summer.

Tony's Barbecue Rub
(Makes approx. 3/4 cup)

You will need:

4 tbsp ground paprika
2 tbsp ground coriander seed
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp minced dried onion
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 dried bay leaves, crushed and ground


Combine all of the ingredients in a measuring cup; mix thoroughly. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the rub for the ribs. Reserve the rest for later in a small jar or a spice container.

Oven-Baked Barbecue Ribs
(Serves 4-6)

You will need:
2 to 2 1/2 lb spare ribs (about 10-12 ribs, individually sliced)
1/3 cup Tony's Barbecue Rub (see above for recipe)
Barbecue sauce of your choice, for basting or dipping


1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Rub the barbecue rub all over the ribs (use a little more rub if needed). Place the ribs onto a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet spaced about 1 inch apart. You will need 1/2 to 1 inch rim to prevent the fat from dribbling down.
2. Bake at 400ºF for 40 minutes, when the ribs are sizzling and no longer pink in the middle. Remove from oven. Check the ribs to make sure they are no longer pink; if they are, return to oven and bake for a few more minutes. Take care not to over-bake. Let rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Alternatively, you can baste the ribs while they are baking: after they've baked for 30 minutes, baste the ribs with barbecue sauce, then return to oven and bake for 10 minutes more.


Red Sangria with Brandy-Soaked Fruit

Sunday, May 5, 2013

So I'm going to pretend that a whole month didn't just pass since my last post. Because if anyone were to ask me where that time went, I wouldn't know. Can I offer you a drink?


I was hoping things might slow down work-wise a bit for the summer (though unsure why - I guess when I was in school, summer was a time of lazy afternoons, picnics, tall grasses, and singing cicadas) but it seems they are only picking up and I feel I'm caught in a perpetual whirlwind of always running out of time. In any event, hot summer evenings are much better spent sitting on a porch or a terrace, sipping sangria.


And I would love to get back into making tasty things, arranging them, photographing them, writing about them on a more regular basis. But as things been lately, when I look at the clock, it's Sunday night, and then I say, well, I'll do it later. And before I know, a month passes. So that's where I've been. With that said, how about that drink recipe?


About a year ago, we've had a white sangria around these parts. So let's try a red one. For this one, I've soaked the fruit in brandy prior to adding the wine for better extraction and more fruity flavor. This method also works if you are pressed for time to serve it. I find that with all the sweetness from the fruit and agave syrup, dry red wine works best. Enjoy!


Red Sangria with Brandy-Soaked Fruit
(Serves 12-16)

You will need:
1 cup brandy
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 sweet apple (such as fuji), cored, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 granny smith apple, cored, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 pear, cored, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 orange, sliced into wedges
1/2 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
2 bottles of dry red wine
A splash of orange juice (about 1-2 oz)


Place sliced fruit in a punch bowl or a glass pitcher. In a measuring cup, combine brandy and agave syrup, stir until syrup is fully dissolved, and pour over the fruit. Stir to combine and let sit for about 15 minutes to half an hour. Add in the wine and the orange juice, stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or over night. Ladle or pour into glasses with a little of the fruit; serve chilled.


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