Monday, July 21, 2008

Ribs on the Hottest Day of the Year



The weather on Cape Cod lately has been so hot and muggy that cooking seems like a silly thing to do. I’d be happy just eating a salad every night. But on Saturday, the hubby decided that ribs would be the perfect dinner, because really when it’s 100 degrees inside your house already, why not turn the oven on for three hours?

The best way to make authentic ribs is to pile them in a smoker, but even though that item is near the top of my cooking gadgets wish list, we’ve never gotten around to buying one. Sans smoker, the only way to get your ribs really tender is to cook them in the oven for two and a half to three hours.

Actually the real reason we made the ribs is because we had two packages in the freezer and they were just plain taking up too much room. So Steve made both baby back ribs and meatier country style ribs. First he made the “Magic Dust” rub from Steven Raichlen’s BBQ USA cookbook and massaged that into the ribs and let them “marinade” for a few hours.

Then he popped those babies into the oven and made his own variation of a barbecue sauce to baste the ribs with as he finished them on the grill. Even though our kitchen felt as hot as the screen door to hell, all that industry in the kitchen helped me rally.

I made potato salad and sautéed up the locally grown organic patty pan squash I found at The Naked Earth in Brewster. The first time I tried patty squash was in Vermont and I’ve been a devoted fan ever since. I buy them every single time I see them, which isn’t as often as I wish.

Add some corn on the cob and our meal was really more than our heat evaporated appetites could handle. The good news was the leftovers meant we didn’t have to even turn on the stove the next day.

The Recipes:

Magic Dust (from Steven Raichlen’s BBQ USA cookbook)

1/4 cup sweet paprika
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients and rub them into your ribs and let them rest in the fridge for several hours. Cook ribs on baking sheet with rack (covered with aluminum foil) for two and half to three hours at 325 degrees. Test for tenderness.

Barbecue Sauce

1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of beer (we used Samuel Adam’s Summer Ale)
1 cup of bottled barbecue sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon country Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey

Sautee onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for three minutes. Add beer and bring to a boil for three minutes to burn off alcohol. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

When you take ribs out of oven liberally coat them with barbecue sauce and then grill for 15 minutes or until crispy. Serve with remaining sauce.

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