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Monday, June 9, 2014

Lip Smackin' Good - Bourbon Laced Baby Back Ribs: Recipe

Meredith's Food for Life
It isn't quite summer but lately each weekend feels more and more like it should be. Already we've spent time at the beach, time at the pool, and eaten our share of hot dogs and watermelon. How many more days are there till summer??

The other day I walked into the butcher's shop and saw a gorgeous slab of baby back ribs (I realize I'm using the word gorgeous in relation to a piece of meat). But given the state of these ribs, I was compelled to take the package home and find a way to cook them up. Barbequing ribs can be challenging in that you don't want to blacken them during the cooking process but instead, you want to grill them to perfection, complete with marks and seared flavor. So I quickly scanned a few recipes and cobbled together my own based on the cooking methods and flavors I liked best and that best suited my timeframe for the day. No one wants to stand in the kitchen or in front of the grill on a glorious day.

My kids will eat anything I make, for the most part. At least they understand that when it comes to dinner, we are serious about eating and about trying food. That said, admittedly, they don't always love or rave about things I make but when they do...they sooo do! I cooked up three and half pounds of ribs for five people - that's two adults, two kids ages ten and eight and one very picky two year old. At the end of dinner there were no ribs left. Not one. None. My oldest ate about four ribs and my sick middle child came downstairs from his self-imposed hibernation to join us for dinner, even though he said he would not eat anything. We begged him to eat - to just take a bite - and when he did, he made a lovely mmmmm sound and proceeded to gobble up the rest of his plate. And even the littlest one, the one who is known to throw her food or drop it, seemingly on purpose, in front of the waiting dog, ate her whole allotment. Maybe it was the bourbon? Maybe it was the homemade mac and cheese that went with it? Whatever the reason, I loved the end result - no left-overs! And everyone was full - that makes for a very happy mommy-cook.

Bourbon-Laced Baby Back Ribs
Serves 4 (grown-ups)

3 1/2 lbs. baby back ribs, one slab cut in half
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1/2 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 cup Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium saucepan, combine barbeque sauce, bourbon, mustard, sugar, vinegar, and pepper over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and allow mixture to thicken, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly.

With paper towels, dry the ribs. Rub kosher salt over the entire slab, paying particular attention to the meaty side.

When the sauce has cooled slightly, pour 1/2 cup into the bottom of a baking dish that can accommodate the two halves side-by-side. Pour another 1/2 cup of sauce over the top. Using a pastry brush, brush the sauce into all sides of the meat.

Cover tightly and bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes. You can stop here, if you need to, and save it for another day - let the ribs cool down and then refrigerate them for a day. Bring to room temperature before you grill them.

If you're grilling the same day, you can set ribs aside for a few hours at room temperature. Heat grill to medium - high heat and grill ribs for about 10 minutes - be sure to move them around a few times so they don't burn (the sugar will cause them to burn easily). Let ribs sit for about 5 minutes, uncovered, before slicing in either one or two rib sections.

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