A Summer Re-Run

CountryStyleRibsVertbfLOAnd so, we return to late April to revisit barbecued ribs. Mostly because I’m a slacker – after driving home from Kewaunee yesterday, I made some tuna salad for lunch, brought some country style ribs up from the freezer to thaw, and then went in to take a quick 20 minute nap. Ahem. 4 HOURS LATER, I woke up and decided it was really too late for lunch – and I was out of bread anyway – so I started in on braising the ribs tossed the makings for French Bread, which will go nicely with the tuna salad for today’s lunch, into the bread machine.

For the ribs, all you will need is some assorted veggies, a cup or two of cider vinegar, some salt and pepper (whole peppercorns, preferably), and about two hours before you plan to grill, broil, or bake. Oh, and the sauce of your choice.

Under Cody’s watchful eyes, I dug through the larder and crisper; coming up with some carrots, onion and garlic to coarsely chop 03aRibsPotbfLOand toss in the bottom of a big ole pot. If I have any on hand, I like to add celery, peppers and maybe the odd romaine heart to this.

Place your ribs on top – if the pot is large enough and you’ve used a regular rack of ribs, stand them up (almost as if it were a crown roast), notching the rack if need to be help bend it.

03cRibsBraisedbfLOSprinkle with some salt and pepper (I just toss in whole assorted peppercorns), then add one or two cups of apple cider.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and place the pot in a preheated 325º oven for 90 minutes. At this point, your ribs are cooked through, tender and just a touch tangy from the cider and the veggies, and (if you happen to be in our kitchen) your French bread is ready as well.

Remove the ribs to a platter, gather your sauce and proceed to grill, broil or bake. It won’t take long, you’re just getting the sauce hot and cooked into the ribs, and, especially if you grill, that wonderful smoky taste. Like CranberryPorkStockFirstStrainbfLOI said, I was a slacker last night and unwilling to leave the comfort of my air conditioning; so I did these ribs in the oven. Still, mighty tasty.

Oh, and the cider braising liquid? To begin with, it has sucked a boatload of fat out of the ribs, while leaving them still tender and tasty. But, I’m not done with it yet. Strain out the veggies and stuff, and place the cooled liquid in a bowl or large measuring cup. Toss in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, pick off the solid cap of fat (the frothy looking stuff above) and you have a pretty tasty and, I think, good for you, seasoned pork stock. I keep mine in containers in the freezer, and have used it to make really, really nice hot and sour soup with spinach and gyoza (hmmm, I never posted that one here, I’ll fix that come the fall). I also used it as a substitute for chicken stock when I made red curry chicken last week and it worked a treat.

Barbecued ribs in the oven, I tossed a fast, basic salad together out if the last of my English cucumber, onion, carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, chick peas and feta on top of romaine.

Ribs, salad (with French Dressing), and a slice of fresh-from-the-machine bread with a touch o’ butter. A fine dinner.

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