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I want my baby back

May 23, 2008

What a cliche of a title, and for that I should be scolded. However, the kudos I offer myself cancel that out. Kudos for falling prey to a package of shrink wrapped ribs at the new and improved Flatbush Food Coop, which is a festival of antibiotic-free meat, which is just the sort of festival this neighborhood needs. (Also like to take a moment to recognize the Natural Frontier Market, some Ditmas Park competition about a year old which I believe was the original impetus for the old, bad FFC stepping and become a destination with things like edible meat and fresh artisanal bread.)

Anyhow except for sausage and bacon as an accent meat in sauces or omelettes, pork and I have been on the outs of late. The last time I cooked a supermarket bought tenderloin, the smell when I opened the package precluded my ability to enjoy the meat even once it was cooked and the smell was gone. It was a strong sulfury smell — the smell of doom.

But when I saw this $19 pack of ribs. I got a gleam in my eye, dug a twenty out of my pocket, and tried to decide what to do with them.

The internet provides some pretty hilarious “recipe” advice for babybacks, with the ingredients being:

  • some ribs
  • 1 bottle of bbq sauce
  • foil

And the method being: Put sauce on the ribs, wrap manageable sections of them tightly in foil, refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, then cook at 300 for 2.5 hours.

And then everyone writes in with all of their comments. You know the kind, generally something along the lines of: “This was delicious! Except I used coffee instead of barbeque sauce, and hamburgers instead of ribs, and I didn’t put it into the oven, just sprinkled it with basil from my garden. My husband couldn’t stop eating!”

But in this instance, the kooky general public actually seemed grounded by the recipes. They wrote in saying: I made this and it was really really great. A predominance of people seemed to think that about this crazily simple little instruction, so I wanted to try it myself.

After reading (um, some of) Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, about the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup everywhere including in our favorite condiment, and a recent New York Times article last week about how much food we throw away, I was far more inclined to make my own bbq sauce out of things I already have then to buy a new bottle — plus, barbeque sauce is one of those things that’s like banana bread: if you taste and adjust, there is no real bad recipe. Tomatoes, orange juice, garlic, and vinegar will do in a pinch. Heck, coca cola and a pinch of salt will do in a pinch. Rendered pork fat goes a long way.

So I scoured around and found this one submitted by CM at for Honey Smoke Barbecue Sauce, and will now treat (or annoy or puzzle) you to my own modifications:
added cinnamon
added a few mashed up chipotles in adobo
deleted lemon because had none but added a dollop of the oily vinegary juice from a can of pickled jalapenos and carrots
ignored call for liquid smoke
Used Maker’s Mark rather than JD, since it’s what we keep around

It was surprising, at first, how boozy the bbq sauce was. But it adjusted (or I did?) and it was the perfect glaze for in-oven ribs. (A glaze of this sweet would have turned nasty on an open grill but I think that all ribs are at least par-cooked.) I am so gleeful at how delicious and easy these ribs were that I’m fantasizing about starting my own line of bbq sauce. However, I don’t know what is involved with that sort of endeavor, and I don’t want to spend too much time making the same recipe 2000 times and pouring things into jars I have sterilized, so I will be satisfied with letting you knpw about this experience, and moving on.

We ate these ribs at home and they DISAPPEARED. I had a bit more sauce so used it as a base and augmented and brought home to my family in CT, where they’d gotten 5 lbs of ribs from the local butcher. They were great — but M and I felt that the organic actually made a difference in this recipe. Still, we polished every single part off, the family enjoyed, and I highly recommend.

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