This week at the market, they had ribs on special, in small quantities – just enough for dinner for two. Also this week, my Food & Wine magazine came, and the theme was barbecue. It seemed like Nick’s planets had aligned, and because sometimes I do nice things for him, I figured I’d get the ribs and make the meat. Because I am terrible at remembering anything, I ended up kind of combining and reinventing two recipes from this edition despite having the wrong kind of meat (the recipe calls for baby back ribs … I had a pork loin rib rack). So I will give you my version the Food & Wine recipe, because, quite honestly, my variations were awesome and I am awesome and meat is awesome and everything about these ribs is spectacular.
At the outset, I knew that if Nick said the ribs were “good,” I was going to murder him with a basting brush. IN THE HEART. For a creative writing major, he should have better adjectives, and lately, all the validation I get is, “it’s good.” Spent twelve hours to create a single loaf of bread? “It’s good.” Wriggled into a tight red dress that makes my boobs look like aggressive, smooth-skinned grapefruits? Barely looking up, “You look good.” WAS THE STAR TREK MOVIE NOT AMAZING AND HOLY CRAP WAS SULU HOT? “Yeah, I thought it was good.” Good. It’s his only word, and it’s driving me insane. And then I storm off and he’s all, “what do you want from me?!” And he should know better and probably should have been gay because it would have been easier, and maybe I should have been too. But I think the thing is, I shouldn’t bother with any of that stuff if I want a little attention. Slow-cooked meat is the way to go, and he’d better use an adjective that is adequate to describe the effort and the taste sensation. “Life-changing” would work, as would “epic,” “revelatory,” or “better than anything I’ve ever tasted in my life and this is why I married you, not just so that I’d have access to your grapefruit stash” which isn’t an adjective, more like hope that he will magically change and actually start uttering what I want to hear, at last.
Tomorrow I’ll go back to ignoring him and making what I like. And in case you’re all, “you constantly use the word ‘awesome’ like a half-assed coordinating conjunction so who are you to complain about Nick’s overuse of ‘good?'” And to that I say, I also overuse “fantastic,” “lovely,” and “ass,” so even if I am repetitive, at least I’ve got variety. I’m like dining off the KFC menu for seven days in a row – you think it’s all the same but there are actually subtleties that breed uniqueness with every experience. SUBTLETIES.
But, I digress.
Bourbon and Apple Pork Loin Rib Rack
- 1 3 lb. pork loin rib rack
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane or other fine grater
- 4 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tbsp. of the spice rub (above)
- 1/4 cup apple cider (although, I used this, and it was excellent. I used this in place of cider in this and the barbecue sauce. If you can find an apple beer, use it)
- 1/4 cup Wild Turkey (or bourbon of some other variety)
- 1/4 cup apple jelly, melted
- 1/4 cup honey
Early in the morning, but preferably the night before, apply the spice rub to the meat and let it get all tasty. Keep it in the fridge while this is happening. Take it out about an hour before it goes into the oven.
Preheat oven to 250°F. Place the spicy meat (uncovered) on a baking sheet, and bake for 2 1/2 hours.Remove the meat from the oven and place on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the liquid mixture over top, and seal the meat in its juice. Put it on the pan and back into the oven, and bake for another hour.
During this time, you’ll want to make your barbecue sauce. I guess you can use store-bought, but you’ve got the cider/beer and the bourbon anyway, and homemade is way better.
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
Mix up the ingredients in a bowl. Save for when you toss that meat on the grill.
When the meat comes out of the oven, throw it onto the barbecue over medium heat. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, basting with the sauce.
Side dishes? I thought you’d never ask.
Toss some chopped vegetables in some olive oil with a little kosher salt and black pepper, and put them on the top rack – ten minutes should suffice. Oh! And do some corn! Same amount of time.
Pull back the corn husks (but don’t pull them off), and butter the corn with a bit of herb butter. I had some fresh lemon thyme from the pots on my deck, so I used that. Re-wrap the corn in its husks and set it on the top rack as well, 10 minutes.
When the meat is done, pull it off the grill and let it rest, preferably for ten minutes. Serve with the vegetables (unpeel peel the corn).
So, Nick was all, “this is really good,” and at first I was content to take “really” as an improvement. But then he read the first part of this blog and was like, “it doesn’t taste like scabs!” So, we’re probably going to get a divorce. Oh! This whole meal went really well with this apple wine we bought last weekend. It would also be lovely with ice cold apple cider, or that apple white beer. But not with apple juice. NO.
And another thing? It’s time to clean the deck:
So, um. Friday! Also, sorry about this one. I started drinking at 2:00.