Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ribs. Mmmmmm.....

Ribs are something that I've only ever made once before in my life and they were a complicated affair, thanks mostly to a time consuming root beer based barbeque sauce. I saw ribs in the grocery store last week and they went into the cart pretty quickly, mostly owing to a find I had made several weeks earlier during a quick cross border hop to Port Huron.

It's no secret among those who know me well that I love U.S. grocery stores. The selection is so much more varied than Canada and occassionally you stumble across something you might actually want to try! While trolling the aisles of Meijer in PH I came across a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Vidalia Onion BBQ sauce. I'm partial to sweet onions and the price tag ($1.50) was too good to pass up. Fast forward to my local grocery store; I couldn't resist picking up some pork ribs knowing I had a simple sauce solution waiting for me at home.

I think that ribs must be one of those foods that everyone has an opinion about as regards the 'best' way to cook them. I was going for 'quick and simple' so opted to read the package directions on the back of the styrofoam tray. The directions indicated I should boil the ribs for 30-40 minutes then grill them, basting with desired sauce. So that's what I did. More on the outcome in a second, because first I want to talk about side dishes.

I still can't get enough of roasted asparagus, it's my current go-to vegetable, so that was a given for one side. For the other I decided to make coleslaw, because somehow ribs don't work for me without coleslaw. Luckily bagged coleslaw mix was on sale at the grocery store, so whipping up a batch of my foolproof slaw proved very easy indeed. To my bag of slaw I added:

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed

Put all of the above into a microwave safe measuring cup and heat one minute, then stir to dissolve sugar. Pour this over your bag of coleslaw mix (typically shredded cabbage / carrot mix) toss it all together and then stick it in the fridge until you're ready to eat. This particular recipe (From The New Canadian Basics Cookbook) is also excellent with tourtiere. But I digress.

Keeping with my 'simple' theme I went to the freezer for my last side dish - Cavendish Potato Wedges. I think I've mentioned these before. They are quite good for a frozen potato product. I know making fresh wedges isn't all that hard but I find when I buy potatoes a good number of them sprout on me before I've decided to use them.

So there you have it - ribs, roasted asparagus, coleslaw and potato wedges. The ribs turned out very well for a 'last minute' effort. After I boiled the ribs I grilled them on the BBQ for about 20 minutes, brushing with sauce near the end of the cooking time since I knew the sugar in the sauce would cause some charring (sounds better than burning, doesn't it?). If you do this leave the meaty side of the ribs 'up' on the grill until the very end - put them on the grill bone side down. The sauce was very, very good. Bones were picked dry, fingers were sucked clean. Kudos Sweet Baby Ray, kudos.

I tried to sell ribs as brontosaurus bones to the boys and they were intrigued by this dish until they figured out that if I was serving brontosaurus bones they would likely be bigger than the table at which we were eating. So a lot of carrot sticks were consumed at Sunday dinner this week. My husband loved this offering and we still have about half a jar of SBR left...I see more ribs in our future.

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