My girls and my husband love ribs! I’m not a huge fan for two reasons. First, I don’t love gnawing them off the bone so they must be basically falling off the bone for my liking. And second, ribs take TIME which I am not in great supply of these days. My brother in law has a fantastic rib preparation, which I will share when I have a chance but the ribs take a few hours in the oven to cook before finishing them off on the grill. Again, time that you have to be at HOME! So I will call that recipe Weekend Ribs when I post it.
Two things led me to the decision to cook ribs this past week, besides the fact that it’d please my family. First was an intriguing recipe in the most recent issue of Cuisine at Home for ribs that start off in the Crock Pot (perfect for a busy weeknight!). Second was inspiration from our Grill Master cousin, Rick, who had recently given us a jar of homemade BBQ sauce (recipe from the Penzey’s Spices Catalog). Incidently, Rick had also given me some KC BBQ Rub a few months prior — the sauce and the rub were begging to be used this week. Swim team practice, tennis lessons and other errands kept me out until about 5:00 p.m. so I knew the Crock Pot was the best option to tenderize my two racks of baby back ribs and have them grill ready when I got home.
Somewhat to our surprise (my husband was certain I was going to ruin delicious ribs in the Crock Pot), this was an excellent preparation. The ribs became tender and flavorful in the Crock Pot and it took just a few minutes to baste them in BBQ sauce and finish them off on the grill. The rib meat was literally falling off the bone! I roasted some red skin potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and chives and blanched some green beans. I am no longer hesitant to throw ribs into our weeknight rotation from time to time. It took just a few minutes to prepare them earlier in the day and we had a great dinner on the table in 20-30 minutes later that evening!
Weeknight Ribs (Serves 4-6)
2 racks of pork baby back ribs
4 Tbsp BBQ rub (purchased or follow recipe below to make a mass amount to keep or give away)
2 Tbsp water
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 lemon, cut in half
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
BBQ sauce of your choice
Wash and dry ribs. Make sure to take off the membrane on the back side of the ribs if the butcher has not already removed it. Cut slab of ribs in half to better fit in crock pot. Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon over the meaty side of all four half slabs. Rub 1 Tbsp of BBQ Rub into the meat side of each half slab — really work the rub into the meat. Set ribs aside.
To the Crock Pot, add 1 onion sliced thin, 2 Tbsp water, juice of the other lemon half, 1 Tbsp cider vinegar, and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. Lay ribs meat side down on top of one another in Crock Pot. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Remove from crockpot and set on large cookie sheet or tray. Brush with BBQ sauce. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill ribs, meat side down, for 5-6 minutes. Serve extra BBQ sauce on the side.
Rub Ingredients (Makes a lot — give some away or use it all summer long!): 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup chili powder, 1/4 cup paprika, 6 tablespoons black pepper, 3 tablespoons onion powder, 3 tablespoons garlic powder, 3 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoons cayenne 1 (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/kansas-city-style-burnt-ends-recipe.html)
Recipe significantly adapted from Cuisine at Home