Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pork ribs dry rub

I'd never had pork ribs until this past year (partly due to a suspected pork allergy when I was growing up, and partly due to its high price, considering how much of what you're buying is bone), but I fell in love quickly and hard for the meaty morsels. After eating them twice in an authentic fashion, I thought I'd try making my own at home for cheaper, even though I don't have a proper barbecue pit and would have to settle for oven-roasted.

What I found was a version of ribs that I like nearly as much, one heavy on texture and spice. I'd happened upon a dry rub recipe to which you add sticky sauce at the end, and despite it not being the same as what you get at restaurants, I'm just as addicted. Here's my recipe, adjusted/improved from the original:

Rub ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp celery seed (extremely important for texture)

1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cloves (this and allspice are the non-traditional of my add-ins)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 lbs pork rib meat, cut into pieces approximately 4 inches x 1 x 1
(works well with both ribs on the bone and boneless)

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Stir together all dry ingredients. (You can easily double this recipe and keep the rib rub in a plastic baggie for future uses, as shown.)

3. Save out 2 tsp rib rub for each 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce you intend to make.

4. Roll each rib in the rub until well coated.

5. Place ribs in 2 separate 9x13 glass pans with a little space between them.

6. Roast in oven 75-90 minutes, testing for doneness on the thickest parts.

7. While the ribs are cooking, create your BBQ sauce. If you have a favorite, you can just warm up a 1/2 cup or so. I personally like my sauce a little spicier, a little more textured, and a little less sweet than the traditional options at the grocery store. We usually have BullsEye on hand, so here's my bumped up version:
1/8 cup fresh minced sweet onion
1 tsp dried minced garlic or 1 1/2 tsp fresh
2 tbsp water

1/2 cup BullsEye BBQ sauce

2 tsp rib rub

1 tsp chipotle Tabasco
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp coarse ground dijon mustard
Simmer onion and garlic in water until both are soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until slightly sticky.

8. Once ribs are cooked all the way through, plate them on top of a small pool of sauce, dry side up. You end up with a dual-textured treat — moist and sticky on half, and sweet and rough on the other. Serves 4-8. (It makes approximately 24 pieces, so it depends on whether it's a main dish or a full meal.) Enjoy!

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