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pork spareribs help?

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  • ronla Feb 25, 2009 05:37 PM
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I bought these beautiful pork spareribs from my farmer's market guy, and now that I brought them home, I have no idea what to do with them. It's a cut of about 7 or so ribs, weighing in at 1.6 lbs. I've cooked beef shortribs before, but other than that have never cooked ribs. What's the basic concept? Any ideas for recipes? Thanks in advance!

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  1. 2 ways, dry rub and let marinade and then cover and cook slow. I so mine most of the time in my oven. You can also use a bath of broth beer etc which is my preferred way. Either or they are delicious.

    I have a great rub which I use, but unfortunately I can't give you the recipe, it is a friend of mine and not sure of his combo. It uses garlic powder, paprika, cayene, black pepper, salt, cumin, oregano, parsley and I'm sure a lot more.

    I am confident you will get a lot of dry rubs recipes. I do like dry rub, I just prefer the liquid which I will give below.

    I cook mine at 325 for a cook 2 1/2 hours or more depending on how many, but that is usually an adequate time and then remove the foil. If access to a grill I like to put on the grill the last 15 minutes which is when I put the BBQ sauce on. Your choice. The broiler works too. Please use your favorite sauce.

    My base is to put them in a large pan I add 1 beer, some fresh minced garlic 1 bay leave, some salt and pepper and some oregano on the ribs. Also I rub a little brown sugar on the ribs with the salt and pepper it tends to give a bit of sweetness but a nice crunch. I also add 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar to the beer. Just something about it breaks down and tenderizes the meat and gives it great flavor. I cover them at first as I mentioned and then uncover. They will fall apart.

    1. Well, look at my avatar, for pete's sake...

      First, please do not par boil or boil. Some people do... fine. Try it a different way.

      Go with a dry rub, then low and slow cook (smoke or roast) for 4-6 hours for spares. Are they "longer" and meatier spares or are they smaller baby backs? You can do this on the grill/smoker or in the oven. I can offer more thoughts if you say what you';ll cook on. I would use the dry rub, let them cook uncovered at a very low and indirect (225) temp, til they start pulling up from the bottom of the bones. Then you can brush on some sauce to develop a glazing on the outside, for the last 15-20 min of cooking. Here's a rub I like for ribs...

      1 tbs brown sugar
      1 tbs kosher salt
      1 tbs chili powder
      1/2 tbs cumin
      1/2 tbs celery salt
      1/4 tbs cayenne
      1/2 tbs black pepper
      1/2 tbs garlic powder
      1/2 tbs onion powder

      5 Replies
      1. re: woodburner

        I just prefer slow cooking in a bath vs a rub. I do rubs when I am on my smoker day ... but you will get a million recipes here and I know that. Nice combo. Same basically as mine when I use it. And I have used dry before and it is very good. Just like the wet. But each as own, I'll eat them all. I'm not picky. Equally as good.

        1. re: kchurchill5

          My sense is that you're talking about braising (good), and not boiling in a pot, then pulling out the gray, tasteless, dead ribs and grilling with sauce as a surface flavor...? If that's the case, then we're COOL! lol

          1. re: woodburner

            No not grey at all, and very little liquid and very tasteful and very tender. They are a top seller for my catering business. I finish on the grill with a great sauce and I get top requests. top. I can appreciate yours and have done it. It prefer mine. Like I said each his own, but mine are not dead and tasteless by any means. They wouldn't be my top request as a caterer or at the restaurant where my recipe is used if they were dead and grey.

            I have to disagree. I like both methods. I just mearly stated I like my method better. I appreciate both.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              I'm with you - I always boil - for as long as you can be bothered - 1.5 hours normally - then sauce (oven or grill).....it's the only way to getbthem realllllllly tender!

              1. re: Nancy_Dumpling

                Mine is not boiing but braising in the oven with some liquid. But my breast friend boils. I like anything that delivers a good tasty tender rib.

      2. I grew up in Mississippi and I now live in Louisiana. Let me tell you that years and years ago, while in line at the grocery, an old black woman told me the best way to cook pork ribs was to boil them for an hour in water with creole seasoning, lots of onion, bell pepper, and garlic, then let them sit in the water for another 30 minutes. Then put them on the grill outside for about 15 minutes with your favorite barbecue sauce. Hasn't failed me yet.

        1 Reply
        1. re: suites

          At that point, I'm tossing the ribs in the trash and using the stock for soup. Sorry, but that's not barbecue.

        2. Usually I'm of the oven or BBQ school with spareribs (pan-fried Chinese ribs splatter too much). You can also slice the ribs individually to make soup or braise with sauerkraut for a hearty one-pot meal.

          12 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            Add kraut and I'm right there, makes a great meal. I do mine a lot like that. I think it is a wonderful flavor.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              Thanks all for the suggestions. Small correction, I realized that the cut is folded in half, so there are twice as many ribs as I previously thought. The cut is about 6 inches across at its widest and tapers to about an inch and a half. I'd prefer to do it in the oven (or broiler) rather than outside, as I don't have time to mind the fire for 6 hours right now. If I go dry heat, what kind of pan do you recommend? I don't think I have a large enough oven-proof stovetop pan, but I do have pyrexes and a large (too large) roasting pan, or I can cut up the meat into individual ribs, although I think I will loose something that way. Also, should I try to brown before roasting? Any liquid in the pan with the no-braise method?

              Also, chowhound used to email me when replies were posted, but I'm not getting them. help there?

              THANK YOU.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                JungMann and kc: do you mean packaged/store bought sauerkraut, plain cabbage or your own home-made version of sauerkraut? I do from time to time make my own sauerkraut (just cabbage, bacon, apples, vinegar and brown sugar) and am curious now of this combo!

                1. re: scoopG

                  To both, for me a pyrex is fine for the oven. I use whatever even a baking sheet or cookie sheet with foil on the bottom. Improvise. No harm in that. Sometimes we need to. Anything works for me.

                  Trust me I don't have 6 hours either .. 90 % of the time

                  Bake at even 350 if time crunched with some liquid (in a roil pouch if necessary, 2 hours and then check. Pouches cook faster than non pouches. Let me know how you are cooking. Should be fine. Finish in the broiler or grill pan or grill. Either or.

                  As for kraut, I make my own, but a good kraut, whole foods or whatever you enjoy should work fine. I do use my own but a good quality fresh kraut will suffice. I add some fresh onion, seasoning, I like some apple slices and good FRESH herbs. Just me.

                  But hey, I have used whatever and it still turns out pretty good. Don't sweat the small stuff. Use what y9u have and enjoy the meal.

                  1. re: scoopG

                    Bacon, apples, vinegar and brown sugar you can always add towards the end. Great combo. Better earlier on but, It is all about flavor. Don't kill yourself over timing. Sounds like you junk want to enjoy the dinner with friends with is half the work. That come first. I'm sure you will enjoy the dinner no matter what. Try to get the bacon mix in asap to the kraut and let it all bake. Hope for the best.

                    If I didn't answer everything please let me know

                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      Great - thanks. Do you leave the dry rub on the ribs for very long? Or how long before you start to cook then?

                      1. re: scoopG

                        Sorry about typos, need to wear glasses, lost them. What can I say.

                        I like to marinade them over night, but, any time is better than nothing. I have used 2 hrs, 8 hrs, 12 ro 24 and even over night. The longer the better to me. Over night I prefer, depends of the chef. Longer more flavor. All day is perfect to me, but my schedule doesn't always permit that, so I do what I can.

                      2. re: kchurchill5

                        KC, are you saying that you marinate your ribs in a dry rub before braising in the sauerkraut? That's not something I've tried before, but might be interesting. Do you alter your rub or do you go with a standard barbecue rub?

                        1. re: JungMann

                          I do like to marinade mine before I add sauerkraut, the rub is usually a bit milder than the spicy BBQ rub, but very close, you could use anything you want. I bake slow until it is very tender and then add the kraut towards the last 1 hr of cooking to get all the flavors through. I also add some onions as well. I don't add any other seasoning. Usually the rub on the ribs is enough. I do add a dark beer when I add the kraut. Gives some flavor and moisture to the ribs and kraut so the kraut doesn't dry out. I cover it for most of the time and then remove the foil at the end just to let some of the liquid reduce which it does quickly. It may not be the traditional way, but it sure is tasty and good. You can add sauce if you want but for this dish you don't have to.

                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            Oh yes, I forgot the onions. Those are key.

                            My way is a bit different as I like ribs and kraut for their ease of preparation. I just throw the whole lot into a pot and simmer until tender. I may try your way as my not-so-foodie flatmates are put off by the scent of sauerkraut and I think the oven might keep it contained.

                            1. re: JungMann

                              My ex used to walk away when I cooked kraut, German here ... and love it. But he did eat it. Just didn't like it cooking. My dad won't even be in the house when cooking. too funny. I make my own kraut. it is a lot of fun. Not much work and makes a ton.

                      3. re: scoopG

                        Scoop, your sauerkraut sounds fantastic for ribs and kraut! Typically I buy the Alsatian sauerkraut and Fairway and simply braise the ribs in that with a bit of added water, beer or wine with bay leaves and pepper corns. If I am lazy/sick and have to go with Sabrett's packaged sauerkraut, then I add chopped cabbage as well.

                        Your homemade sauerkraut sounds like it would make an even better bigos, which in addition to the ribs and aromatics contains pieces of kielbasa, perhaps saltback or porkbelly, tomato paste and juniper berries.

                  2. My wife came across Quincy Jones' Thiller Ribs recipe (via Oprah) and I have to admit that they are very, very good ribs. Among the best I have had. While the original recipe does not call for bbq sauce, I think they benefit from adding some sauce at the table (the acidity cuts the somewhat fatty taste of pork ribs and by adding it at the table, it does not burn). You can find his recipe here:

                    http://www.oprah.com/recipe/omagazine...

                    1. ronia, you've stumbled backwards into a topic that can be contentious, passionate, even bitter. Ribs is religion, not cooking. There are perhaps two maybe three basic approaches. The first and the one that holds the high ground is woodburner's and swsidejim's (where the heck are you, by the way?) dry rubs and slow low indirect grilling or smoking. No one disagrees with the holiness of this approach. Secondly, there are those who parboil or boil the hell out of the ribs (see suites and Nancy Dumpling) prior to finishing on a grill or broiler with sauces. The high priests always respond with (and no offense meant to you, woodburner), "boiling in a pot, then pulling out the gray, tasteless, dead ribs and grilling with sauce as a surface flavor". Finally, there is braising - long, slow cooking in a bit of liquid (kate's method). I'm glad that woodburner approves. My own method is searing in giant pots and then braising in sauce in the same pots taking advantage of the charred bits. The reason is that when I do ribs, it is usually by request and usually for 30 to 100 people. I can't do that using the rightfully revered low and slow grill method - due to time and equipment (I have to rely on huge pots and large restaurant stoves). I can go along with any of the methods - including initial par-boiling. But suggesting par-boiling will immediately raise the ire of the rib mullahs. Have fun and good eating!!

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        well said, sam. a true statesman... maybe Barak has a place for you at the UN!! Braising is cool... but boiling in a pot of water is what my grandma did to chickens in eastern europe.... FEH!!

                        1. re: woodburner

                          Thank you. I already work with some of the UN agencies - over which the US government is not supposed to have any say. I'd much rather have ribs at your place than have any more work with the UN agencies!

                          Just one thing (honestly). It seems to me that par-boiling breaks down the meat tissue just enough that the meat and bones accept/incorporate sauces better and that the fat gets a bit more integrated into the meat. On the other hand, your chicken example is a good one. Why would anyone boil a chicken? I simmer and shred breasts for use in various dishes; but roast whole chickens if I want the full flavor potential.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            IMHO, ribs in boiling water, even seasoned water, simply release their fat (flavor) without absorbing anything. The result is tasteless meat, that must be given flavor through sauce. I think the wood fired BBQ, or the oven (dry on a rack or braised) -- in any case with a nice dry rub or maybe even a pre-marinade -- will allow that fat to break down and MIX with the seasonings that stay with the ribs... the sauce at the end is another layer of flavor in the form of a glazing. I think full boiling strips that away. Tender, sure... flavorful, if you add flavor. But you can get the same tenderness with low and slow, along with "cooked-in" flavor and smoke.

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              If only I had known you worked with the UN just a couple years back! We could have had a few Jim Beams and Marlboros in the delegates' lounge before heading crosstown to Daisy May's for some serious low and slow barbecued ribs!

                              1. re: JungMann

                                Not the UN, but the UN agencies UNDP and UNEP through my work with the Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank.

                        2. I have to admit. I had a larger smoker at my home. Apts don't allow it so in storage. There is nothing better than slow cooked ribs with a dry rub. Unfortunately I had to adapt with time constraints and daily meals. I love my braised ribs, also had many other recipes to me are equally as good. But I respect the slow cooked method. Unfortunately some of us 1 ... don't have the time, and 2 ... don't have the right equipment. So my version is the next best thing or close to it.

                          I wish I could smoke all day, but it isn't going to happen.

                          1. i'd love to wade into the smoke/rub/mop/sauce side of this. that can go so many ways, though and might not be relevant to your situation. one small thing that might be--it sounds like you have purchased simple cut spare ribs. you might want to trim them no matter how you cook them. i generally cut off any flap of meat on the bone side of the ribs. i also usually cut off--and cook separately--the tapered piece of meat outside the last rib. it is also a good idea--though a bit of a pain--to peel off as much membrane from the bone side as possible. if a full peel seems like a chore, consider scoring the membrane in a cross-hatch pattern.