This is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It’s as basic as a rural tradition can be without involving cousins who marry. This is food meant to feed large groups of people with the least amount of effort (let’s face it, the folks cooking ribs usually spend more time drinking and socializing than anything else). So if you’re wrapped up in a sophisticated recipe or stressing over the finer points, you’re doing it all wrong.
So get over it. Take a breath. Have a drink. Enjoy the ribs.
Pork Ribs in the Oven, Wet or Dry (serves 10 or more)
- 10 lbs pork ribs, cut St. Louise style
- 1 cup Soy Sauce
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 inch ginger segment, sliced
- ½ head of garlic, peeled
- 10 peppercorns (or ½ tbsp crushed black pepper)
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
For this recipe you want to keep the membrane on the back of the ribs. You can make a single slice between individual ribs if you want it parted for cooking.
Mix soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic and peppercorn in a 10-quart (or larger) pot. Let this sit over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Cut the ribs into segments of three and arrange in the pot. Add water to cover if necessary. Raise temperature to a low boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and let cook for 45 minutes. It’s done when the meat is still firm but beginning to pull back from the bone.
Move the meat to a rack, let it cool for a few minutes, and then baste with barbecue sauce.
Place in a 300° F oven for up to one-and-a-half hours, basting and turning the meat on the half hour. The ribs are done when the meat separates with the prick of a knife.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp spice (I like to use Old Bay or dried oregano)
For this approach you should remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Then cut them into segments of three ribs each.
Mix the dry prep in a large metal bowl, add the ribs, and thoroughly rub the mixture into the meat.
Place the meat on a cooking rack and into a 300° F for up to two-and-a-half hours, turning on the half hour. As above, it’s done when the meat separates with the prick of a knife.
As you can see all of this can be done with a minimum of attention, which is the way it should be. The one thing to be careful about is letting the meat cool enough between stages. And always use tongs with unless you want a few scars to go along with those picnic memories.