Before I begin, I’d like to mention that, regrettably, I had to skip this month’s Daring Cooks challenge. It’s a recipe called Rice with mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes, created by Jose Andres, and chosen/hosted by Olga of Las Cosas de Olga and Olgas Recipes. If you have some time and would like the recipe, please take a moment to check out some of the Daring Cook’s takes on and mouth watering photos of it by checking out the Daring Cooks Blogroll and clicking on the links to their blogs.
BUT..HEY, I’ve got RIBS!
So I was cleaning out my fridge last month, and suddenly, way way in the back a little ruby bottle appeared. WHAT? How did I not finish that 8-pack of Pomegranate juice that POM Wonderful sent me last February or March? I started to open it, ready to guzzle, but then, being an avid peruser/reader of food blogs, I recalled a recipe I saw a few months ago, created by the lovely couple at Fotocuisine, a food blog with, well, obviously, stunning and mouth-watering photographs.
He’s the chef; she’s the photographer, which is akin to peanut butter and jelly in the macrocosm of food blogs.
In any event, this was a recipe I was dying to tackle, and I remember thinking, ‘Damn, too bad I don’t have any of that POM Wonderful left!’. Well, apparently the people at POM Wonderful read my mind and sent their little ruby red fairy to deposit a bottle into my fridge with a flick of her wand.
The beginning of a beautiful BBQ sauce with the ‘elusive’ POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
I hadn’t made ribs in a while, and their recipe for grilled, oven-braised POM Pomegranate Barbecue Ribs struck like lightning before the opening of the bottle hit my lips. I screwed the cap back on and placed it back in the fridge, knowing a trip to the market for some baby back ribs was inevitable. Just my luck, they happened to have some gorgeous baby backs on sale. I bought several racks, since I knew I was going to want to make this again..and again. ‘Highly intuitive’ was something that was always written about me by teachers back in the day. Too bad I don’t listen to my ‘intuition’ as often as I should.
So as you may have guessed, my intuition was correct. These ribs are fabulous. I made a few changes to the dry rub (added some dried chile powders and herbs), the BBQ sauce (added finely diced onions and reduced the cumin and lemon juice), and cooking time/temp, but nothing too drastic. The sauce was sweet, rich, slightly tart, and zesty, with a kick of heat (I increased the burn by seasoning it with some of the spicy dry rub). The meat was juicy and tender, sliding off the bone with each bite, almost melting on the tongue.
I’m so glad I made these, and due to popular vote, I have to make them again…and again….and again…
Now, before I get to their recipe with my changes, I need to ‘veer’ off a bit. My camera broke. I guess it was looking for a little spark in its life. While uploading some photos this past Monday, there was a power surge, and the wire connected to it blew, little iridescent scintillas literally shocking me and sending some kind of electric sex up into the body of my camera. When I tried to take some photos on Tuesday, all I got was ERROR this, and ERROR that, the camera shuddering and beeping away every time I pressed the shutter button.
To add insult to injury, when I reached for the Canon manual to troubleshoot, my elbow knocked against my ONE good lens, and KABOOM, it hit the floor and cracked in half.
I carefully wrapped my critically injured camera and lens in bubble wrap, placed them gingerly in a cloth bag, and brought it to a local camera shop. The proprietor told me *sniff* they had to be sent away for repair, and he wasn’t quite sure they would *sniff* make it – aka it might not be worth the price to repair either of them. OH NO, what was I going to do? I asked if he had an XSi, XTi or XT I could rent until we received the final diagnosis. He did, but it didn’t have any X’s attached to it.
To put it simply, I could hear the faint heartbeat of the alternative/grunge rock movement coming from it.
But, it was better than nothing, and I didn’t want to use my old, crappy point and shoot (see photos from May, June and July of ’08). Unfortunately, I also had to revert back to the lens that came with my camera, so since the tragic accident, the photos I’ve taken have been more than less than stellar. Remember, I have no natural light to begin with, so I need all the help I can get/afford when it comes to photographing my food.
The ribs with chile lime butter grilled corn on the cob minus the cotija because it was a last minute idea.
So, that’s why these photos are pretty awful. I sort of tried to emulate some of the photos of the rib preparation and ingredients at Fotocuisine. HA! What was I thinking?
'Fall of the bone' tender, extremely moist, and chockful of flavor!
- 1 rack pork baby back ribs
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
- 1½ teaspoons paprika
- 1½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1¼ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1¼ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground coarsely
- 1½ teaspoons ancho powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 3 tablespoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Half a medium onion, finely diced
- ¼ cup honey **
- ½ of a cherry or jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Some of the dry rub to taste or just salt and pepper
- Peel the thin, silver skin off the back of the ribs, if you can. This is how you do it.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the dry rub. Sprinkle on and rub into both sides of the ribs until well coated. If desired and/or you have the time, you could wrap the dry rubbed pork in plastic wrap, tightly, and let marinate in the fridge for several hours prior to cooking.
- In a medium to large sauce pan,combine the garlic, onions, tomato paste, dry mustard, cumin, pomegranate juice, molasses and honey.
- Whisk it while bringing it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened and reduced by one third to one half. Squeeze/stir in the lemon juice.
- Add some of the dry rub OR salt and pepper to taste - NOT all three. Set aside until ready to baste.
- Preheat oven to 225 or 250 F. Heat a large grill pan, your outdoor grill or BBQ (bricks or coal) until very hot. Sear the ribs on both sides until you've got color, but that's it - don't go any further.
- Place the ribs on a foil lined sheet pan and paint/mop both sides, generously, with some of the sauce. Cover with another sheet of foil and place in the preheated oven. If using your grill or BBQ, apply the sauce to both sides until well coated, but wrap the ribs in foil and lower/close the cover of the BBQ or Grill.
- This is where I differ in cooking time and temp. I let these ribs go for anywhere from 2-4 hours (depending on the weight/thickness of the ribs) at 225 or 250 F, lifting up the foil covering the sheet pan and basting both sides of the ribs every 30 minutes with the sauce, then replacing the foil to cover the sheet pan. On a BBQ or Grill, you would unwrap and baste, then wrap again. 160 F means DONE, but you can go a bit further, just not too much. I didn't use a thermometer, I just went by taste and feel with a fork.
- When the ribs are done to your liking ('falling off the bone' tender is what you want), preheat your broiler, and let broil for about 2 to 5 minutes until bubbling and a deeper brown in color (of course you want those crispy bits!). **Cook down the remaining sauce for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Serve the ribs with the extra sauce on the side.
Have plenty of napkins and moist towelettes on hand, and enjoy these finger lickin' phenomenal ribs!
**If you like your BBQ sauce even sweeter, increase the honey. Less sweet, reduce it.
On a final note, I WILL be telling the story of the two women plus men ‘gym experience’ in my next entry..I promise! Also, I was incredibly flattered to receive this award from Lauren at Celiac Teen.
She’s a sweetheart of a girl, and her blog is one to check out, especially considering how she has to adjust her eating habits and cooking/baking due to Celiac Disease. She’s incredibly creative and has such a positive attitude! That said, now I have to pass this on to 13 people and in turn, you guys pass this on to 13 people. Spread the sentiment!
Jill at Jillicious Discoveries
Julia at Melanger to Mix
Marta at Just call me Marta
Juliana at Simple Recipes
Mandy at What the Fruitcake?!
Megan at Feasting on Art
Valerie at The Chocolate Bunny
Sophie at Sophies Foodiefiles
Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti
Isa at Eat My Cake Now
Laura at shore (house) chic.
Claire at Cooking is Medicine
Rose at The Bite Me Kitchen