I Know You’ve Been Waiting for This: Kari’s Ribs!

Things have been so busy lately that I haven’t posted any recipes, just culinary school updates, aah! Better do something about that.

Ribs are one of my favorite things to make for parties. They take a bit of prep work, but you can let them sit in the oven and go do something else, which is a bonus, and they seem to impress people. Maybe writing about how easy they are will make me seem less of a potluck superhero, but I’d rather share tips so maybe one of these days someone else will make a decent rack for me!

I learned how to make the best ribs from a former neighbor of mine, who talked me through it over the phone. The keys to making them deliciously soft so the  meat will fall off the bone, include removing the tough silverskin lining, marinating the ribs in something that includes salt, acid, and flavouring agents, cooking the ribs at a low temperature for a long(ish) time to soften them, and finally, basting them and getting a nice, saucy or crunchy glaze coating on the outside. Having something to dip them into is also smart thinking.

First things first, I made an Italian-inspired rib dish the other day, with no prior experience, and usually do something a little more Asian or Southern BBQ-ified (these versions I will post about in the future), and marinate them in beer, not tomatoes, but I forgot to pick some up! It all turned out pretty well, except for a slight bitter aftertaste that came from using too much fresh rosemary, so…use less than you see in the photos.

“Please Don’t Shoot Because They’re  Not Really Italian” Ribs

serves about 10 people who don’t care where their food comes from

5 pounds of pork or beef side ribs/short ribs
1 796 ml can of diced tomatoes
1 lemon, cut into 5 mm slices
1 onion, diced
As many cloves of garlic as you dare to add (start with 3)
A few little sprigs of fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

For basting: Tomato paste, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, all to taste

This is how to separate silverskin from ribs: Use the tip of a skinny knife to wiggle between the layer of rubbery skin and the meat. Once you've done that, tilt the knife handle UP, to make a 45 degree angle, and it should make a gap big enough to stick a finger in and start ripping it all off. I find that a dull blade works best, to avoid cutting through. If you don't remove this, it will contract and make the meat curly and a little tougher, plus you have to pick it out of your teeth after eating. While you're at it, remove any giant hunks of gristle or fat left on the racks. There's already a good amount inside the meat, that will melt down and add flavour. Your arteries will be less upset with you.

Put the ribs nice and snugly in a roasting pan or pan that you can cover with foil. Season very well with salt and pepper.

Put lemon slices, rosemary, onion, garlic, and tomatoes into the pan, and make sure that the meat is fully coated so the acid can help soften it, and the salt will get it to absorb the flavours and moisture. If you need to, stir in a little water or wine to cover. Put a lid on it and refrigerate for an hour. Braise in the oven for 2 and a half hours at 250 degrees F, rotating the pieces every 40 minutes or so.

The meat should look soft and tear easily with a fork, like this. Now, you can serve it as-is, family style, or...

Mix tomato paste, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little sugar (to taste) together to make a slightly-less-thick paste and baste the ribs with it, and bake them with a little of the sauce in another pan for about 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees F...

...Ditch the rosemary and lemon, make sure the sauce is boiling hot, and stir enough cous cous in until it looks like a runny paste. Keep in mind that it should have a little too much liquid, because the pasta is going to swell to about 3 times the original size, and suck that all up. Cover it again. After about 5 to 8 minutes, fluff with a fork, add butter or olive oil, taste and season it.

Let people fight over ribs/grab some for themselves, or pre-slice them nicely. Your choice!

This time there wasn't a sauce to dip the ribs in. It was needed for the cous cous, and I wanted to season it with extra stuff to try and drown out the herby flavour. As you can see though, it wasn't dry at all. Whew!

I was pretty ill in November, all the way up until school started, and had a cough that was so bad that I pulled an intercostal muscle. Four times. So I finally healed up (for real, this time), and got back into kickboxing after a long hiatus, then made this to celebrate.

That wasn’t so bad, was it? There’s something deeply satisfying about eating ribs. Now go and spread some happiness!

Eat well!


This entry was posted in Gluten-free, Meat, Poultry & Seafood and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I Know You’ve Been Waiting for This: Kari’s Ribs!

  1. glutenfreegal says:

    I want to start a “like” button on here! So from now on I will just post “like” and you will know what I mean. So here goes!



  2. kchellouf says:

    Hah!! Thanks, Ashley!

    Next time I make ribs, I’m going to try marinating them in Strongbow or something else that is similar and gluten-free because I want to see how a cider/other bev gets the job done in comparison to a beer. Results will hopefully be interesting and delicious!

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