Herbed pork ribs
What is it about ribs that inspires such devotion? It's a big hunk of bones and fat with just a soup-spoon of meat. I have sometimes ordered them at barbecue places and definitely enjoyed them. I do love most any opportunity to eat with my fingers.
Recently I was gifted with a couple of huge packages of pork ribs by a dear friend. I took them willingly and started to try to figure out how to cook them. After a quick jaunt through the internets, I timidly bedded the packets of ribs in the depths of our giant basement freezer and closed the door on the overwhelm and confusion. There is much simpler food to cook.
The big news is that I am finally writing a book of the same name as this blog, although almost the entire book is new material. Here in the blog, I can know in my heart of hearts that it all relates back to the plants. In the books, I have decided to strictly stick to herbs. I've been messing about with it for a shockingly long time but now have decided to get serious and make pact with myself to write on the book every day.
A convergence of sorts happened the other day. I was in the basement, in the freezer for another reason, and decided to grab one of the pork rib packages to cook. Motivated by thawing beast flesh, I dug once again into the world of pork ribs on the world wide web. I happened to be thinking hard about oregano as I had been working on that chapter.
I have decided that I don't know if aluminum is bad for the brain (some studies say yes, some say no), but with all the head trauma I have had, I'm trying to avoid it. Most of the recipes I found in my online research are various riffs of a method developed by "a celebrity chef" who I strong suspect is the amazing Alton Brown (love him). The two keys are the dry rubbed and marinated overnight rack of ribs is wrapped in a foil envelope with braising liquid and sealed tightly. Then cooked for a long time at a low temperature.
I was not up for doing most of that.
I decided to improvise and make a wet rub for the meat. This was going to combine both the dry rub and the braising liquid in one step. Yay me with the synthesis.
I created a thick sweet/savory blend paste and then stirred in a ton of fresh chopped oregano.
There are so many kinds of oregano, I chose to use a blend of Hot and Spicy and Greek oregano from my garden. Pull the leaves off the stems, chop roughly, and set aside.
|Ingredients looking all cute and sexy|
|All yummy stuff.|
|A thick layer of oregano in the savory sweet paste.|
|After baking for 4 hours in a 250 degree oven.|
It was great to know that dinner would be mostly ready when we got home.
There is a final Topping step which I was too hungry to photograph. It's worth the effort.
(But it's fine if you don't. The ribs are still yummy.)
Turn the broiler on and move the pan to about 4" from the heat. Spoon a thick coat of your favorite barbecue sauce over the top and put under the broiler for about 5 minutes until it is boiling and caramelizing. Due this a couple of times until you have a thick layer of sauce built up on the top.
Cover with the aluminum foil again and let rest for 15 minutes to redistribute the juices.
Slice between the bones and eat! It was so tender that I had trouble with the meat falling off the bones. But we managed.
We had a package of make-at-home coleslaw, mac and cheese, and ribs. I think we should have that most every time after grocery shopping.
Pork ribs with oregano
1/2 cup brown sugar (plus a bit more if needed)
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Tamari sauce
1 teaspoon of smoked salt
bunch of grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh chopped oregano (half Greek/half Hot and Spicy varieties)
about 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F
Mix ingredients well in a small bowl. Adjust as needed with more sugar to make a stiff paste.
Wash and pat dry a big ole rack of pork ribs, trim extra fat. Put meat curved side up in the bottom half of a broiler pan or some other large shallow baking pan. Spoon wet rub onto ribs and rub in.
Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil making sure the foil does not touch the meat.
Place in oven on middle rack and cook for 4 hours.
Take out of the oven and remove the foil. Move the rack up to about 4" from the coil and turn on the broiler. Spoon barbecue over the ribs and put under the broiler until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Do two or three more times until the sauce is used up.
Set aside and cover again with the aluminum foil (make sure it does not have raw meat juice on it) and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Slice between the ribs into serving sized pieces. Enjoy!
Will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
The herbal flavor of the oregano balances out the sweet of the meat and makes it taste so good.
I saved the drippings and put them in the fridge to de-fat. There was a good 3/4" of fat on the top that just peeled right off the next day. I added that broth to the leftovers when I re-heated the meat to keep it super juicy.
I ate about half of them by grabbing a couple of ribs for breakfast! Who knew?!
|Hot and Spicy Oregano|
About two weeks away from blooming, near the peak of its flavor.
The cutest is no doubt the miniature oregano in the crack in our sidewalk. To allow us to run irrigation, we make the sidewalk crack wider. This hearty tiny leaved plant was just the thing to put in the gap. It dies back a bit in the winter but fills in gorgeously in the summer. It delights me with its elegance.
Who doesn't enjoy a bit of rustic elegance?