Last weekend, I had a craving for cornbread. Nothing else, just cornbread. However, since Jiffy corn muffins and butter does not a meal make, I asked K what he wanted with his cornbread and he replied, very simply: ribs.
Ribs? Can you even make ribs without a smoker, or at the very least, a grill? In Texas, the answer is usually no, but I live in Boston and I wanted cornbread and he wanted ribs. I would not be deterred. I did some research and realized ribs can be made inside–and in a tiny oven to boot!
Ribs aren’t beauty queens. There isn’t anything I can do about that fact.
I started the ribs by making some homemade barbecue sauce. I was gifted Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook over the holidays and knew that I wanted to use that recipe for my oven baked ribs.
The sauce starts with sweating some onions and garlic over medium-high heat.
I added some white wine vinegar and cooked until it was reduced by half.
Then I added some pureed tomatoes, water, and minced jalapenos. That simmered for about 10 minutes.
Next goes the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, honey, and molasses. I stirred it all together, lowered the heat, and let it simmer for about 40 minutes
The recipe said to take this mixture and puree it in a food processor, but since I was just going to use it for the ribs, I omitted this step. I didn’t want the extra dishes.
When the sauce was simmering, I lined a baking dish with foil and placed the ribs on top, then seasoned both sides generously with salt and pepper.
I poured the barbecue sauce over the ribs, then placed them in a 300 degree oven and cooked them until the meat was quite literally falling off the bone. After a couple of hours, the ribs were ready, as was the cornbread, and we were ready to dig in!
Oh, and that pan? Well, the sauce leaked under the foil, and because of all the sugar, honey, and molasses, it was completely toast. Needless to say, I went and bought a new one the next day.
I’m not a huge fan of ribs normally, but because they were cooked low and slow for so long, they were tender and tasty.
The barbecue sauce was phenomenal. It was sweet and a little spicy and the longer it cooked, the more concentrated the flavors became. I loved it. Also? I had some of the leftover meat on a pizza the next day and it was just as good. I love a repeat recipe.
Cornbread and ribs means a very happy couple indeed!
Here’s the recipe:
Oven Baked Ribs with Barbecue Sauce (Sauce adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook)
- 2 tablespoons Canola oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
- 4 jalapenos, diced (I kept the seeds and ribs intact for added heat, but you can remove them if you’d like)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup molasses
- salt and pepper
- 1 rack of ribs, cut in half
For the sauce:
- Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the onion an cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add vinegar and cook, letting it reduce by half.
- Add the tomatoes, 1 cup of water, and the jalapenos and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, honey, and molasses and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. This should take about 30-40 minutes. When it’s done, taste for seasonings and adjust with salt and black pepper as needed.
- If you want the sauce to be smooth like traditional barbecue sauce, at this point remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor. Puree until smooth and return to the pot.
For the ribs:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet very well with foil (I wouldn’t want you to have to buy a new one like I did!) and place ribs on top. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper, then pour about a cup of the barbecue sauce over the top.
- Cook ribs for 4 hours, stopping midway through to flip them and coat again with another cup of barbecue sauce.
- When ribs are finished done, transfer to a plate and cut between each bone.
Serve with corn muffins and enjoy!
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