Wednesday, September 2, 2009

To Parboil or Not to Parboil?

I am squarely in the camp of not parboiling pork spareribs when I cook ribs at home. A lot of recipes recommend parboiling to soften the meat but I think that removes a lot of flavor from the meat. So, my solution is to slooooooooow cook my ribs. It's not hard, it just takes time.

I live in an apartment with no access to a grill so I can't exactly make BBQ Ribs so here's my recipe for Apt Slow-Oven Baked Ribs. It takes at least 4 to 6 hours of cooking time and 24 hours to marinate but the results are worth it. Tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone meat that beats any ribs I can buy from a restaurant in LA.

I prefer spareribs over baby back ribs because it is meatier and less expensive. Choose a piece that's 3 - 4 pounds. A smaller piece is fine too but if you're doing all this cooking why not make more for friends or for a couple of meals?

The recipe will most likely give you extra dry rub. Save it in an airtight container so you can use it again in the future.

Wash and pat dry the ribs using paper towels. It is really important that you remove that tough membrane on the back of the ribs. Take a spoon and work your way under the membrane and slowly rip the whole thing off.

Ribs sans membrane. Use kitchen scissors to trim any leftover membrane and excess fat. As the ribs cook, fat will drip onto your pan so trim the excess fat or else you might have to take your pan out and pour out the fat.

Rub the dry rub all over the ribs (front and back). Wrap tightly in foil, put it on a tray or in a plastic bag in case of leaking and put it in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours.

After marinating, remove foil, pat away any moisture and excess dry rub and place the ribs on a rack on top of a tray. Bake at 275F for 4 to 6 hours. It may take the full 6 hours depending on the size of the ribs and oven temperature (I finally bought an oven temp gauge and found out my oven runs 25 degrees lower than what it's set for). Ribs are done when two ribs can easily be separated by hand (the ribs in the pic above are done cooking).

Okay, final stretch. To finish, add BBQ sauce. I like to use Bull's Eye Original Barbecue Sauce and for a spicy kick, I mix in a little tabasco sauce before I brush it on the cooked ribs (tabasco optional). Of course, brush sauce on both sides of the ribs.

Set the oven to broil and place ribs in for about 5 to 7 minutes. It will look bubbly as the fire heats the sauce. Then, take it out and flip and broil the other side. Monitor the broiling very closely by looking through your oven window. You don't want the ribs to burn; you just want the sauce to soak into the ribs. So, if it looks like it is burning, take it out immediately even if the time isn't up yet

Apt Slow-Oven Baked Ribs done! I served it with fresh corn from the farmers market and rice. I'm Chinese so I must have rice :)

Recipe for Dry Rub
(I mixed and matched dry rub recipes I've used in the past)
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt (I prefer Kosher which I think brings out the meat flavors better but regular salt is fine too)
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of black pepper (fresh ground if you can)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Store extra dry rub in an airtight container for future use.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely with you on not parboiling.. THere is no need for it if you use the slow bake techinique- I've been roasting ribs 20 years and have never had a complaint about toughness.. I like your rub recipe-- will be testing it out soon!!