Sticky Chinese Ribs

Have you ever had sticky ribs from your favorite Chinese takeout or local restaurant?  While I’m a purist most times about BBQ, I have to admit my latest creation for oven ribs is near the top of my all-time favorites.  From the citrusy marinade to the rich tangy sauce, there’s enough going on to forget that these never touched a grill or smoker!

 

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STICKY CHINESE RIBS

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Lbs. Rack of Baby Back Ribs

Marinade

  • 6-8 Slices Fresh Ginger
  • 2-3 Cloves Chopped Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Canola Oil
  • 1 Tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil

 

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Sticky Sauce

  • 3 Tbs. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Ketchup
  • 1 Tbs. Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tsp. Sriracha
  • 1 Tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder

Instructions

  • Remove silver skin from the back side of ribs and cut rack in half.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients.
  • Place ribs in a gallon zipper bag and pour marinade over them.  Remove as much air as possible and seal.
  • Marinate for 2-6 hours, turning occasionally to ensure marinade penetrates all of the meat.

To Cook

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Remove ribs from marinate and shake off excess liquid.  Place in a glass 13×9 baking dish.
  • Add a half cup water, cover tightly with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.
  • With 20 minutes left of cooking time, place all of the sticky sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently and cook for 15 minutes until sauce thickens slightly.
  • Remove ribs from oven.  Turn your oven’s broiler to low.
  • Transfer ribs to a foil-lined baking sheet.  Spoon 1/2 half of sticky sauce over ribs and place under broiler for 3-4 minutes.
  • Spoon the remaining sauce over the ribs and place back under the broiler for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove ribs from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

The sticky sauce and warm spices cut through the fat of the ribs while enhancing the flavor of the pork.  You’ll be amazed how much these remind you of versions you’ve had from restaurants – only it’s better!  I know we’ll use this sticky Chinese-inspired sauce on wings in the near future too – I think a little sliced scallion would be the perfect finish.  Give them a try and I guarantee you’ll want to make them for your friends and family during these NFL playoff weekends.  Dig in!

Spicy Pasole

Not every Tuesday has to be tacos!  When we still have a taste for something “south of the border” and it’s turning to fall, spicy pasole hits the spot.  A flavorful broth spiced with chiles chock-full of tender pork and creamy hominy, this is a hearty fall/winter dish that you’ll make a new Tuesday tradition.

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SPICY PASOLE

Ingredients

  • 3 Lbs. Pork Shoulder or Boneless Country Ribs
  • 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Large Tomato
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Chiles in Adobo Sauce, Chopped
  • 2 Tbs. Adobo Sauce
  • 2 – 29 Ounce Cans White Hominy, Drained
  • 1 Quart Chicken Stock
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 2 Tbs. Canola Oil
  • 2 Tsp. Mexican Oregano
  • 2 Tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Diced Avocado, Sliced Radish & Shredded Cabbage (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Cut pork shoulder into 1 1/2-inch cubes.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  • In a ceramic-coated iron pot, brown half the pork in 1 Tbs. canola oil.  Remove from pot and brown the other half of the pork in an additional Tbs. canola oil.  Remove from pot.  You do not need to cook it through as it will braise later.
  • Add diced onion and minced garlic to pot and cook over medium heat until translucent.
  • Dice and seed tomato.  Place in pot with onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes.  Add chopped chiles and adobo sauce.  Stir to combine.
  • Add chicken stock to onion mixture and stir to deglaze pot.
  • Add water, oregano, chili powder and paprika.  Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  • Add pork back in as well as both cans of hominy.
  • Simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve immediately and garnish with avocado, radish and cabbage.

You can spice this version up with additional chiles, hot sauce or sliced jalapeños.  The combination of spicy, rich stew is complimented by the cool cabbage, bite of radish and creamy avocado.  Taste for yourself, you’ll make the Tuesday change too.  Dig in!

Hoisin Glazed Pork Belly

My wife came home with a huge slab of pork belly the other day and I decided to split it in half and start experimenting.  The result of one half was this ridiculously delectable Asian-inspired pork belly.  Packed with flavor, melt-in-your-mouth soft and perfectly crispy on the outside, it made for great sliders.  While it’s a little out of your comfort zone, it’s actually really easy to make and execute well.

HOISIN GLAZED PORK BELLY

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Lbs. Pork Belly (No skin)
  • 1/4 Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce (Plus additional for glazing)
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 1 Tsp. Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Five Spice Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Sesame Oil

Instructions

  • Place pork belly in a zippered plastic bag.  Set aside.
  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Whisk well and pour over pork belly.
  • Seal plastic bag, removing as much air as possible.  Place in a glass dish and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
  • When you’re ready to braise, remove from refrigerator and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove meat from plastic bag and place into a glass baking dish.  Pour marinade over meat and add enough water to bring liquid up halfway on pork belly.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees.
  • Lower oven temp to 200 degrees and continue to bake for 3 additional hours.
  • Remove from oven.  Use a spatula to remove pork belly from cooking liquid and place on a platter.  Allow to cool for 1 hour.
  • Cover platter with plastic wrap and place cooked pork belly in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • When ready to grill, remove from fridge and slice with a sharp knife into 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices.
  • Grill over medium-low heat to crisp pork belly brushing each side lightly with additional hoisin sauce.  Grilling should take roughly 15 minutes.  Be careful not to burn!

You can serve this fantastic meat on its own as a main dish, in an Asian-style taco or in sliders.  We devoured sliders made with Hawaiian rolls, the pork belly and topped with spicy kimchi – wow!  I know you’ll love trying this out and I’m sure you’ll look like a professional chef when you serve it to your family and friends.  Get this belly in your belly.  Dig in!

Pork Burnt Ends

I love to grill, smoke and BBQ – even through the winter!  I’m always looking for new recipes, methods and cuts of meat to try some experiments.  Thankfully, I always have plenty of willing taste-testers.  The recipe below was inspired by one I read in The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook by Bill Gillespie.  Burnt ends are traditionally beef, but I really like this take using pork.  They make a perfect dinner, appetizer or snack for the Super Bowl next Sunday!

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PORK BURNT ENDS

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Lbs. Boneless Pork Country Ribs
  • 1/2 Cup Yellow Mustard
  • Savory BBQ Rub or Any Dry Rub (I used Butt Rub on these)
  • 6 Tbs. Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Cayenne Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed

Instructions

  • Coat country ribs evenly with yellow mustard.  Dust liberally with BBQ rub of your choice.  The mustard will help tenderize the meat and help the rub to stick.
  • Using a smoker, charcoal grill or gas grill, cook ribs directly on the grate offset from the heat at a temperature of 250 degrees for roughly three hours or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.  I used my charcoal grill, natural oak lump charcoal, this time with applewood chips for smoke.
  • Remove ribs from smoker or grill and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • While the ribs cool:  In a small saucepan, melt butter and add hot sauce and honey.  Stir to combine well.
  • Cut ribs into 1-inch cubes.  Using an injector fill each pork cube.  The butter mixture will run out some, but that’s OK.  Place cubes into a shallow foil pan.  You will have some butter pool in the pan as it runs out of the pork.
  • Sprinkle the cubed meat with brown sugar and another light coating of rub.
  • Return foil pan to the smoker or grill and continue to cook on offset heat at 275-300 degrees for 1-2 more hours.  Stir every 15 minutes to evenly coat pork with rub and sauce.
  • Your burnt ends are ready when they reach your desired darkness.  Given the fat content and butter in the meat, you can create a great bark without drying out the meat.

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So this was my first run at making these and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out!  You could easily finish these with your favorite BBQ sauce instead of the rub and brown sugar, but be careful of the sugar content.  It could cause them to burn quickly.  Served as a main, in a sandwich or as an appetizer, you’ll look like a BBQ pro for your family and friends.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.  Dig in!!

Easy Baby (Got) Back Ribs

Is BBQ a food group?!  I believe it should be – a lot of people would agree with me based on America’s obsession with BBQ cooking, restaurants and TV shows.  Baby back ribs are sometimes intimidating for people to cook at home, but they don’t have to be.  Whether braised, smoked, oven-baked or grilled I have a fool-proof method for tender ribs that will make you look like a pro!  The key takeaway from the recipe below is the method.  You can vary rubs and sauces, but by following these steps, you’ll always turn out competition-worthy ribs.

EASY BABY (GOT) BACK RIBS

Ingredients

Directions

  • Remove ribs from packing and pat dry with paper towels.
  • On the back side of the ribs, insert a knife under the silver skin until you can grab enough of it with your hand.  Remove the entire silver skin from the back of the ribs to allow for better cooking and more tender meat.  It may be easier if you use a towel or paper towel to grab the silver skin.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the rack in half for easier cooking.
  • Generously sprinkle all sides of the ribs with your dry rub.  I love using Butt Rub, but there are tons of great dry rubs out there.  I’ll have a future post with several rub recipes you can make yourself!  Rub the seasoning into the meat well.
  • No matter your method of cooking, you want to take two steps.
    • First, place the ribs in a metal rack on your grill or on a cookie sheet for your oven and cook for 2 hours at 275 degrees.  On the grill, cook them over indirect heat – they will dry out and become tough on the outside.
    • After two hours, place both halves into a large piece of doubled-up foil.  Put butter and cider vinegar in the foil and seal completely.  Place back in the oven or on the grill for 1 hour.
  • Remove ribs from grill or oven and from foil wrap.  Discard foil and cooking juice.
  • The ribs are fully cooked and tender at this point.  I like to finish them over low direct flame on the grill and add sauce.  You can also sauce them in the oven if you prefer.  Either way, over the next 15-20 minutes, brush rib liberally with the sauce of your choice turning the ribs often to avoid burning.

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Follow this method and you should turn out beautiful ribs that have tender meat pulling away from the bone!  I use one of our local Cincinnati favorites – Montgomery Inn BBQ Sauce for a rich sweet flavor.  Try these with your own local favorite or homemade sauce.  I’ll have a few recipes in future posts for that too!  Send me pictures and stories of your best effort – I’m sure you’ll wow friends and family with this recipe…