Welcome to my world!

I've developed a passion for cooking since childhood, but in the past six years, that passion has grown into a geeky obsession. I love cooking, baking, and most importantly, sharing the love of food with family and friends. I invite you along on my journey of food discovery and passion.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pork ribs - versatile, economical, and TASTY!

I'm a self-proclaimed pork hound.  I love me porky goodness in just about any form.  Friends and family have swooned (literally) over my pork candy (for the unfamiliar, it's bacon coated in brown sugar and cayenne pepper and baked), and I grew up in a household that cooked more pork than chicken.  In other words, I come by it honestly. 

The one pork product I didn't really eat much was a bone-in pork rib.  Mostly, in my head, it was a great bbq option, but not an everyday item.  Was. I. Wrong!  In the last six months, I realized how economical, versatile, and tasty pork ribs can be.  Any flavor works well - Mexican, Italian, whatever your taste.  Finding some pork ribs discounted ($5 for $9 worth!), I decided to experiment, but what to do....

It's January, so braised dishes are comforting and seasonally-appropriate.  Braises also make food both flavorful and tender, cooking low and slow.  Looking in the pantry, I decided to cook the pork in beer with a little OJ for flavor and brightness.  I cut the ribs into individual portions, sprinkled them with a bbq rub, and browned them to get the flavor jumping.  Then, I added 1 can of beer and 1/2 cup of oj.  I cooked it on high in the slow cooker for about 4 hours and they were falling-apart tender.  But I wasn't done there!  I wanted to get even more flavor into the ribs.  How?  Really simple - I boiled down the sauce, thickened it with some flour, and added sriracha!  Five ingredients for dinner?  Yes please!  If you don't like my combo, use the combos that work for you!  I served the ribs with a side of steamed broccoli and mac and cheese.

Beer, OJ, and Sriracha Pork Ribs
2 1/2 lbs pork ribs, cut into individual pieces
2 Tbsp barbecue rub of choice
1 can lager beer
1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp Sriracha or Chinese hot garlic sauce
2 Tbsp flour

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp oil.  Season the pork ribs with the barbecue rub or salt and pepper.  Brown the pork ribs on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove from pan.  Transfer the pork ribs to a slow cooker or oven-safe pan.  Add beer and orange juice to slow cooker or baking pan.  Cook on high heat in slow cooker for 4 hours or up to 8 hours on low.  Alternatively, bake covered at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours or until done.  Once ribs are done, remove from sauce and wrap in tin foil to keep warm.  Bring cooking liquid to a boil and add 2 Tbsp flour mixed with 2 Tbsp. cold water to braising liquid.  Boil until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add Sriracha.  Add ribs to sauce and reheat 5 minutes.  Drizzle sauce over ribs.

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