Oven Roasted Baby Back Ribs – at the completion of the first class of my six week cooking school course, I was told that my homework for the week was to ‘braise’ something, anything, actually. So being the diligent student that I am, or trying to be, I had set aside my Saturday afternoon to complete this task. Little did I know, that it was actually going to take up my entire Saturday!
Firstly, I don’t have a ceramic crock-pot, or a baking dish anywhere near big enough or deep enough to hold liquid. Somewhat important in the field of braising. Believe it or not, in the twenty or so years that I have been living out of home, I’ve never had a need to ‘braise’ anything, and to be honest, isn’t that what my slow cooker is for?
So, after trolling the Internet, cookbooks, blogs and anything else I could get my mitts on, I had found the perfect recipe that suited the requirements of my task. A beautiful, succulent looking, Dijon Mustard Chicken braised in Milk. OMG….my mouth started to salivate just looking at the photos and after reading through the ingredients list I was pleased that I could utilise the left over Dijon that I had in the fridge from the week before when I made Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken & Vegetable Couscous Salad, yippee!
With the recipe sorted and now having some idea on what size crock-pot I required, my mission had started. Enthusiastically and a little excited, I jumped in my car and headed off to the local shopping centre in search of my dream crock-pot, totally unaware of what I had let myself in for. After wandering through various home-ware, kitchen shops and variety stores, I was left in shock. Firstly, I had no idea that a beautiful pot, the one of my dreams, was going to set me back some $300 – $500 dollars and secondly, that there was nothing in the cheaper category that was anywhere near big enough to do the job.
I could feel my conscientiousness disappearing, as I was now becoming overly frustrated with this whole experience. With my knickers in a twist, I plonked myself down in the middle of the shopping centre on a hard wooden stool and pondered where else I could look, as I really didn’t want to invest in something that expensive at this point in time and nor did I want to deviate from my plan. Now, I am completely aware that a crock-pot is an investment and it will be something that I will probably keep for the rest of my life, but! It was becoming obvious to me, that my dream of this chicken dinner, wasn’t going to happen.
After a short period of mourning and a brief drive home, followed by a coffee on the couch, I managed to pick myself up, dust myself off, and regain my inspiration, thanks to a couple of magazines that I had left lying around. I came across a recipe for ribs. At this point, I knew I was on to something, and instead of braising, I could ‘baste’ something instead. Not even close to what my homework was but it started with ‘B’ and at that point in time, that was all that mattered to me.
With a bit more research, I found a recipe that resonated well with me. BBQ Ribs – Jamie Oliver style.
My review, notes, tips & tricks:-
- The recipe;
- is easy to follow, however;
- these take time;
- you will need to allow about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours to complete this recipe, so ensure that;
- you have the time to allocate;
- that you are prepared to stand in a hot kitchen on a 35 degree day to see this through to fruition; and
- you start early enough in the afternoon, so as to avoid eating at midnight, unless of course that is when you eat normally.
- The meat;
- do yourself a favour and head straight to a butcher and ask if they have any baby back ribs and let them know that you want the big ones. Good butchers will accommodate your request.
- I found that the ribs that are stocked on the meat shelf at the supermarkets are spare ribs, they are much, much smaller. You could still make the dish with these, but you may need to adjust your cooking times to suit. Work with what’s available to you.
- The marinade;
- let me start firstly by saying I skipped the ginger as Damo doesn’t like ginger at all; and
- I used red wine vinegar instead of white as this is what I had in the cupboard and wanted to utilize what I had, instead of having another half-used bottle taking up valuable space; also
- I replaced the ketchup with tomato sauce, again this is what we had in the fridge.
- The recipe also says to simmer for 10-15 minutes; or until the sauce has thickened. I bought my marinade to a slow boil after the sugar had dissolved and then reduced the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. The liquid didn’t really reduce that much, if any, to be honest, but in some ways it is a godsend especially if you are a little heavy-handed on the basting, like I am, as there was ‘just’ enough marinade to see the dish to completion.
- I have to add, that at this point, your house will be filled with the most amazing aroma, so much so that the neighbours will be curious as to what you are cooking for dinner and may very well be lurking around, looking for any opportunity to get an invite over.
- The cooking;
- do yourself a favour and ensure that you use some grease-proof paper or a disposable aluminum foil tray as the marinade can make a mess.
- I used grease-proof paper but some of the marinade did manage to escape and make its way on to the tray. Don’t worry, all is not lost, simply soak the tray overnight or fill the tray with some water, add enough baking soda to coat the bottom of the tray and add a dash of vinegar. The liquid will foam slightly. Place the tray back into the oven at the recommended cooking temperature for approx. 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on a heat-proof surface and leave it to work its magic overnight. A bit of elbow grease in the morning and fingers crossed, the tray should come back to normal, if not cleaner than before.
- Back to the cooking. I used the oven and stuck to the basting program religiously, I did skip the BBQ bit at the end as;
- It actually wasn’t required. The ribs themselves browned beautifully in the last 15 minutes and were ready to eat at the end of the allocated cooking time.
- The only note is that if you are doing your ribs on more than one tray, make sure you rotate the trays around so that everyone gets a bit of time at the top or the bottom as all ovens aren’t equal and some have hot spots.
Succulent, sticky, sweet, mouth-watering, moist, baby back ribs. There was some ribs that had accumulated a super sticky chunk of marinade, which had charred around the bottom and edges. These tasty little morsels were the prized possession and were chosen first by the boys, who, by the way, were eating them as fast as I could cut them. Even I, a novice in the field of both eating and cooking ribs, thoroughly enjoyed the gooey, sticky, get-it-all-over your face experience of my former cave-woman days.
They seriously were a delight and the request came in as soon as the last rib was sucked dry of its meat; ‘Can we have these again next weekend!’ Hmm….wait and see, but, I’m seriously considering it!
If you would like the exact recipe, click the link Jamie Oliver BBQ Ribs or scroll below for my adaptation.
Oven Roasted Baby Back Ribs
- olive oil
- 2 racks baby back or pork loin ribs about 1.7 kg
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 2 cloves garlice
- 150 ml unsweetened apple juice
- 100 ml red wine
- 2 heaped tablespoons tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 100 ml low-salt soy sauce
- 100 grams soft brown sugar
Pre-heat the oven 200°C/400°F and line one or two large baking trays with parchment paper or use a disposable aluminium foil baking tray.
lace the ribs on to the baking tray and drizzle liberally with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, massage the oil, salt and pepper into the ribs, be sure to cover both sides equally. Set aside at room temperature, whilst we prepare the marinade.
You will need a medium sized saucepan. Using a zester, grate the garlic into the saucepan and add the chili flakes, apple juice, red wine vinegar, tomato sauce, Dijon mustard, soy sauce and brown sugar.
Whisk the ingredients together until combined. Transfer the saucepan to the stove and place over a medium heat. Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved.
Raise the temperature of the stove to medium-high heat and bring the liquid to a slow boil (bubbles are breaking slowly). Lower the temperature of the stove to low-medium heat and simmer (bubbles 'just' breaking) for 10-15 minutes or until the marinade has thickened slightly, see notes above.
Using a pastry brush, brush the marinade over both sides of the ribs, coating evenly. Ensure that the meaty side of the ribs are facing the ceiling and cover the ribs in aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the baking tray from the oven, pull back the aluminium foil gently and brush the marinade over the meaty side of the ribs only, no need to base the under-side. Gently replace the foil and return the baking tray to the oven. Bake for a further 30 minutes.
Remove the baking tray from the oven, remove the aluminium foil and discard. Brush the marinade over the meaty side of the ribs again, no need to base the under-side. Return the baking tray to the oven and bake for 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
Remove the baking tray from the oven, brush marinade over the meaty side of the ribs, again, no need to baste the under-side. Return the baking tray to the oven and continue to bake for a further 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Discard any left-over marinade in the saucepan.
Remove the baking tray from the oven, one last time. Transfer the ribs to a chopping board and cut up into single pieces or whatever takes your fancy. Serve with chips, vegetables or a side salad or eat them as they are.