Friday, July 8, 2011

Sab's Magic Ribs

When it comes to serving up amazing food and wine, it's hard to find a better team than our Aussie friends, Shayne and Sabine. Shayne knows more about wine that anybody I know and Sab has a knack for flavours and creativity in the kitchen. So it was no surprise when she cooked up these unbelievably tasty ribs for me and Phil last summer. Being the generous soul that she is, Sab was good enough to share her recipe.

Although they take a little forethought, these ribs are a snap to make because they just have to be marinated and then baked in the oven. No grilling required and no lengthy hours in the oven. And what takes them from average to sensational is the sauce. Far from your predictable barbecue flavours, it is a sweet Asian spiced sauce with a surprising blend of ingredients that taste amazing when combined. Elizabeth, my sister-in-law, says she could eat the sauce straight - enough said!

As I had never cooked ribs before, a little research was required to make sure I was on the right track. Check out this site for all you need to know about rib cooking. We decided to use baby back ribs, but side (spare) ribs would work just as well if given a longer cooking time. Either way it is important to remove the membrane that is on the underside of the ribs. With my mother-in-law's help we managed to peel it off pretty easily to allow the marinade to permeate through the meat. Here's a video how-to:

We served the ribs with potato salad and a tasty Asian salad, which is a regular favourite at many Aussie barbeques.

Sab's Magic Ribs
By Sabine Giles

2.5kg (5lbs) pork ribs

For the marinade:
2 cups apple juice
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tspn mustard powder
1/2 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
a couple of broken up cinnamon quills
2 or 3 star anise
4 or 5 roughly chopped garlic cloves
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F). Line a large baking tray with foil.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Soak the ribs in the marinade overnight.
  3. Remove ribs from marinade and place in a large baking tray. Bake for about 1.5 hours or up to 2 hours if you are using side ribs.
  4. While the ribs are roasting, boil the excess marinade in a medium saucepan until it is reduced by about 1/2 to make sauce for dipping.
  5. When the ribs have been in the oven for about an hour, remove from the oven and baste both sides with some of the reduced marinade. Return to the oven.
  6. When ready, remove from oven and cut the ribs between the bones. Serve with dipping sauce and a tasty coleslaw.
N.B. In America we had some trouble finding star anise at our local grocery store. If you can't get to an Asian grocer, do what we did and substitute 1/2 tspn Chinese Five Spice powder for the star anise and the cinnamon quills.

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