I had a week off in October. One of the things I did that week was to cook food in large quantities so that I would have things in the freezer to get me through Holiday Retail Exhaustion. After spending nine hours on my feet helping customers, I want to come home to a hearty dinner that is already thawed and ready to heat.
This week, however, I discovered that I had a rack and a half of baby back pork ribs left from a big bundle I had bought at Sam's Club in July. With snow on the ground, it is too cold to grill them slowly over charcoal like we prefer. But in all the Cooking Channel's reruns of Good Eats, I remembered seeing an episode where Alton cooks ribs in the oven. I dismissed this idea as nonsense, but decided that that would be the recipe to use for these ribs.
The recipe comes from his Episode 27: Pork Fiction, and was easy to assemble. I took the thawed ribs, and covered them with my SECRET dry rub recipe. This is a rub recipe I adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe that I have followed for years to grill my famous pork back ribs. (Yes, they are famous because my father-in-law talks about them to all his friends in Texas.) I also use this dry rub to cook my son, Bacon Boy's favorite bacon, but I digress. Alton includes a recipe for a dry rub if you need one.
Then the ribs are bundled into heavy duty foil pouches, meat side down, where braising liquid is poured into one end of the foil pouch. Alton's recipe uses white wine, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, and garlic. I am all about using what's on hand, so I made my braising liquid with:
- 1/3 cup apple cider (fresh pressed)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 smashed and chopped clove or garlic
And since I had cooked some of my dry-rubbed bacon for BLTs at lunch (the very last garden tomato--sadness), I added about a tablespoon of the seasoned bacon fat.
I divided the liquid between the two pouches of ribs, and put them on a cookie sheet. I baked them in a 250 degree oven for 3 hours. This allowed me time to get the Christmas tree in the stand, get the lights on it, and go to the gym. This time of year, I am all about dinner that doesn't need tending.
After three hours, I opened the ends of the pouches, and poured out the braising liquid into a skillet (I used the one from cooking the bacon that I had drained the fat out of), and simmered it until the suce thickened. While the sauce was simmering, I baked a bag of Alexi Onion Rings in the oven. If you have never tried Alexia Onion Rings, they are crunchy and wonderful, and hidden in the healthy frozen foods section at the grocery store.
When the onion rings were done, I opened the pouches and put the ribs, meat side up, onto the cookie sheet. Then I painted the thick rib glaze on the creepy looking gray ribs, and broiled them for about five minutes. They came out of the oven looking like they had been grilled, low and slow, over charcoal. The whole house smelled of porky goodness.
I served the ribs with a salad (Marzetti's Champagne dressing), a choice of Famous Dave's barbecue sauces, and the Alexia Onion Rings. I thought the ribs would be good, but they were excellent! The meat was tender and juicy, and the flavor off the glaze was a sweet amalgem of the braising liquid ingredients.
Once the snow falls here in Iowa, summer favorites like garden tomatoes and grilled baby back ribs fall off the menu. Alton's oven rib recipe has put the baby backs back!