Oven BBQ'd Pig Ribs
- Until that glorious day when BBQ'ing doesn't
mean setting the Weber up in the alley or on the front stoop, pig ribs
will be oven BBQ'd around here. We have a flat roof but BBQ'ing on the
roof tends to attract the Fire Department. I know firefighters like to
eat, but they become absolutely humorless about roof top BBQ'ing.
So, I went to Vinh Fat, one of my Asian supermarkets. They have a fabulous
meat and fish counter. Everything is fresh. Has to be. Asian housewives
are the world's pickiest buyers, next to yiddische mamas, that is.
woman was examining a rack of ribs. Asian women don't buy without being
able to poke, prod, and sniff the goods. The rack met with her approval.
Another woman was buying a pork back strap (tenderloin). It, too, passed
the poke, prod, and sniff test. I decided to capitalize on their superior
intelligence and forego the detailed examination of the ribs. If it's good
enough for them, it's good enough for me.
- Numbers are not handed out.
Queuing up and waiting turns seems not to be part of the cultural
repertoire. In other words, expect several women to butt in ahead of you.
Don't be shy about getting the attention of the butcher.
- I wanted half
a rack. No problem. Meat is cut to your choice. If I had wanted the ribs
sawed into one inch bits, they'd have done that too. I then had the half
piece cut in two the long way. No problem. The ribs were $1.75/pound
compared to Safeway's $2/pound.
- I wanted to marinate the ribs. I
prepared a marinade of chilified white vinegar, the leftover syrup from
poaching the figs I made into brandied spiced figs, and some brine that
garlic had been acidifying in. The vinegar is easy to do. use white
vinegar. Mine was leftover from acidifying some mushrooms for marinated
mushrooms (I'm canning.). I poured it into a clean jar and added a whole
lot of dried chili pods. A day later, the chili was clearly infusing into
the vinegar. It's mighty hot now.
- The syrup is easy, too. I had
prepared a simple sugar syrup of one part sugar to one part water. It's a
heavy syrup. I then poached the figs in this. The figs leave some of their
color and flavor in the syrup. I saved what I didn't use in putting up the
figs. It would be easy to make a sugar syrup to use. You could add some
orange juice concentrate for orange syrup. You could use lemon juice or
ginger for flavoring. I thought honey and water would make a nice syrup.
Or try maple syrup. You could use Torani syrup. The Asian, Muslim, and
Italian stores sell fruit syrups which could be used.
- I then sploshed
some chili vinegar and plum syrup over the meat. I used about two cups
total. I then added some of the pickle brine. I marinated the meat at room
temperature for five hours, turning occasionally.
- To prepare the ribs.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Set ribs on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour
a good slug of the marinade into the bottom of the pan. Dust the ribs with
ground coriander, sprinkle with a smidge of kosher salt. Bake at 425
degrees F for one hour or so, turning ribs about half way through cooking
- I let the ribs cool a bit before we ate. They were tender and
flavorful. I don't know if it was the vinegar marinade or the fact that
the pork was fresh. There was a lot of meat on these ribs and enough fat
to give them some flavor but not gobs.
- I sided the meal with a
tomato-cucumber-flat parsley-pickled garlic salad dressed with a bit of
pickle brine and extra-virgin olive oil and a cucumber raita with a bit of
powdered omani tossed in. Andreas had some flat bread as well. We drank
Indian spiced iced tea. Hit the spot!
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