Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No Grill? No Problem!

I may get run out of Blogland on a rail for saying this but my personal opinion is that if you’re not grilling over an actual fire, then it doesn’t really matter how your BBQ is being prepared. Gas just doesn’t cut it in my book. I mean, it’s a fine method of cooking, especially in hot weather when you don’t want to heat up your entire house, but taste-wise? I guess what I’m saying is that I really don’t see a difference between something cooked on a gas barbecue grill and the same thing cooked, say, in the oven.

Case in point…

I picked up a rack of baby backs but just basically wanted to throw them together and then forget all about them so I could do other things. This method is perfect for that and the results are fall-off-the-bone good.

I was able to toss these in the oven right after lunch and didn’t touch them again until dinner. To make things even simpler, I also threw some potatoes in the oven to roast at the same time. Once they were cooked through, I just pulled them out, covered them up, and when it was time to actually get dinner thrown together, I put them back in at a higher temperature to brown. Nothing could be simpler.

Oven Barbecued Ribs

1 rack baby back ribs (about 3 lbs)
1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp celery salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ancho chile powder
2 Tbs brown sugar
¼ cup hard cider (or a light ale)

Barbecue Sauce (I used this)

Heat oven to 250º. In a small bowl, combine all seasonings and the sugar. Mix well. Lay out a strip of aluminum foil about 6” longer than your rack of ribs. Lay ribs on top of foil and sprinkle with half of the seasoning. Rub the seasoning into the meat until well coated. Flip ribs over and repeat with the remaining seasoning. Pour cider over the ribs and top with another piece of foil. Seal tightly all around. Place in oven.

Allow to cook 4 hours. Remove from oven.

Turn oven up to 425º. Remove the top layer of foil from the ribs. Coat with barbecue sauce and return to oven when it has heated. Allow to cook about 15 minutes, or just until barbecue sauce begins to caramelize.

* * *

I wanted a couple of really simple sides to go with the ribs. As I mentioned, I roasted some potatoes with the ribs and browned them at the higher oven temperature after adding the barbecue sauce to the meat.

While that was cooking, I put together a quick sautéed cabbage using some of the hard cider left from cooking the ribs (and I have a bit of a confession… since the barbecue sauce calls for apple juice… well, you wouldn’t want me to let the stuff go to waste, now, would you?).

Sautéed Cabbage

3 slices bacon
1 Tbs olive oil
½ head green cabbage, sliced into thin strips
½ sweet onion (you can substitute a yellow onion, of course), thinly sliced
½ tsp celery salt
½ tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp black pepper
½ cup hard cider

Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove from skillet, leaving the bacon drippings. Add olive oil and onions. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent and begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage and seasonings.

Cook, stirring frequently, until cabbage has begun to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cider and continue to cook another 5 minutes until the cider has evaporated and cabbage is cooked through.

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