Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Rib Report

When we visited my cousin Robert in South Texas, he made dinner one night. His idea of an appetizer was a full rack of baby back ribs that he barbecued under the broiler of his restaurant-quality stove. They were delicious and since I knew they would be, I carefully watched how he did it.

First he dry-rubbed the raw meat with his own recipe dry rub. Then it went into the oven, meat side down and after awhile, he flipped them over and continued cooking them. When they had browned, he pulled them out of the oven, slathered them with his recipe bbq sauce and put them back under the broiler. He kept an eye on them and pulled them out before the sugar in the sauce started to burn.

The other night I did the same. But I did it wrong because I didn't estimate the time it takes to cook ribs -- next to the bone takes the longest! Since I'd never used the "broil" feature of our stove, I was dismayed to discover there isn't one, so I cranked 'er up to 500 degrees and carried on.

I should have started around 4 p.m., not nearly 6 p.m. I had put in a call to Robert earlier about how long they needed to cook, but he didn't get back to until later. When he did, he told me to wrap the finished ribs in aluminum foil and leave them in the oven for an hour.

Doing that would have meant dinner at 9 p.m. so I didn't have that luxury. They weren't that good. We dispiritedly ate a couple of them and in a snit, I put the ribs and pan back in the still very hot oven and slammed the door. "Sit there all night! See if I care!"

Next day they were just fine! I now know that I need to either start them much earlier in the day or make them the day ahead, re-heat them and serve them.

Here's the dry rub I use from a book called "Hot Stuff"(author unknown.) Keep the dry rub in a container near the stove as it works well with chicken and pork.

Mix together
2 T white sugar
2 T brown sugar
2 T cumin
2 T New Mexican chili powder
2 T fresh black pepper
1 T cayenne pepper
4 T paprika
optional: 1 teas. Habanero chili powder

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