Food = Love

It’s an absolute luxury to meander through the wide aisles of Whole Foods, contemplating a single night’s menu. Es and I had nothing but time, and of course that is key to most creative endeavors. We got to the butcher case, and there, gleaming pink and white, were some gorgeous spare ribs. I had only really tried ribs once before, and this time I decided to go for the baby back ribs. The butcher said that they had less fat, which is good for the most part unless you’re looking for extra flavor.

I never tell the butcher how many people I’m trying to feed on the meager amount of meat I buy. I usually get one steak for the three of us, one good-sized fish filet, and this time less than a full pound of the ribs. Often it's enough, but not always.

The work at home was a snap.
1: Preheat oven to 300F

2: Plop ribs in a single layer in a shallow baking dish (or two)

3: Smother with barbecue sauce. I couldn’t find Stonewall Kitchen’s Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce, so I used Annie’s Smoky Maple instead.

4: Cover with foil.

5: Bake for 2.5-3 hours. Check on them after 1.5 hours and if the sauce looks kind of thin, take the foil off.

6: Crank the oven up to 500F, and blast them for 10 minutes.

7: After I put the ribs on a serving plate, I poured the sauce into a saucepan, skimmed off most of the fat, and then reduced the sauce down some. Then I poured a good amount of it over the ribs.

I braised some chard, heated up some rolls I had in the freezer and that was it.

I left the ribs baking in the oven while we went to the station to pick up The Husband. On the way home we teased him about what’s for dinner. “Pigeon gizzards,” The Girl cried out. “Frog cheeks!” There was no hiding it though as soon as we walked into the house. The sweet and tangy perfume filled every corner.

Making ribs is a great way to get anyone to feel better about the world. If I wanted to compel someone to love me, I’d make them some ribs. There was certainly a lot of love around our table that night. The Husband cut up some meat and put it on The Girl's plate. “Try that,” he coaxed. She took one bite, then to our surprise and amusement, she (really) got up and danced. Now how many foods can you say that about?


Ken Sternberg said...

Ah! You've touched on a dish that's very close to my heart. I make ribs often, usually regular spare ribs in a slab joined together. Baby backs taste great, but not only is there less fat on them, there's far less meat, too. And they're more expensive.

You may want to experiment with applying a nice dry rub all over the ribs, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day or two. A 250 F. oven for several hours is what I think is the best temp. to cook them at. Low and slow.

Also (sorry to go on and on), finishing the ribs on a low heat outdoor grill adds much flavor, especially if you can use some nice water soaked wood chunks.

If ever you guys travel through Massachusetts, you're invited to eat some ribs at my home.

Deb St-Claire said...

Thanks for the invite, Ken. I made the New Years Eve ribs with a rub (from Mark Bittman), and they were pretty good.

I have a gas grill and haven't experimented with the wood thing yet, though I used to use all kinds of things on my weber kettle. Thanks again for the incentive.

SF Mom of One said...

I have never been a fan of ribs, but I agree with the Food = Love headline. I wonder, what's the short list of the most love-evoking foods. There must be some anthrologist who's checked this out. (Certainly it must be culturally specific, though the ribs things seems like a good cross cultural bet too)

texas sue said...

Down here we say, Why make ribs when some of the best barbecue ribs in the country are within a 30-mile radius? We love ribs.

Deb St-Claire said...

Tex Sue: Absolutely. I guess that's kind of like making bagels in NY. Who in the world would want to do that?

Deb St-Claire said...
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