Back on the 2nd, while buying a pork loin roast, I noticed a sign at the meat counter that baby back ribs (pork) were on sale for $3.69/lb, which was $3/lb off the regular price. I’ve never cooked pork ribs, but this might be the time to try? So I asked and was told the sale was for all week. I bought them on the 5th and we had them tonight. And are going back for more, hoping the sale is still on today! I had looked through my three Weber grilling books and found good-sounding recipes, but they all called for indirect heat, which our range grill will not do. Perhaps the answer is to roast them in the oven, then finish (Maillard reaction) on the grill, if you want that grilled taste. We still have half the rack (in the freezer) and could try it out next time. This time, they were completely oven-roasted.
What I did was to use a Weber dry rub and an epicurious guest (user?) recipe for roasting. Before anything, remove the thin layer on the back (concave) side of the ribs – pull up a corner and peel it off. The epicurious recipe, which is worth reading, says the membrane might come off in pieces and need re-starting, but mine came off easily, once I got how thin the actual membrane was and pulled on that. The recipe both says “use whatever rub you want to but don’t leave out the sugar” and also provides rub ingredients. We went with the simplest rub from Weber’s Real Grilling (the brown one) p. 158, Basic Baby Back Ribs.
Ay, there’s the rub: 1/4 cup brown sugar (called for light, we had and used dark), 1/2 Tbsp chili powder (we had and used ancho), 1 Tbsp Kosher salt, 1/2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper. This is half a recipe for half the rack, or about 1 1/2 pounds. It was a LOT of rub, but I managed to rub pretty much all of it onto the meat. Wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil (we had and used normal). My wrapper leaked at the end joints, and I would suggest making sure to wrap the ends well sealing them as much as possible, so as to retain the juices for use, and so as not to have the juices solidifying on the baking sheet. I would also, obviously, suggest this be put on a baking sheet, which is easier to clean than on oven.
Roast at 250 degrees for 2 hours, take a peek, rewrap and roast another 1/2 hour. But why peek?? The recipe does not tell, but in retrospect, I expect it is to see if the meat is falling off the bone yet. Which, by the end of that last 1/2 hour, it was. The first spill of juices out of the foil happened when I tipped the baking sheet while removing it from the oven. This could be avoided with some minor care taken. After 2 1/2 hours wrapped, at 250, open the foil and up the temp to 350 and cook another half hour. Done.
I sliced between the ribs to serve, but it was probably unnecessary. I assumed they would be strictly finger-food, with fingers and cheeks coated with gooey mess, but the meat fell off the bone with pretty much no effort, just poking it with knife and fork. And it was delicious! Seemed slightly dry to me, but D took the juices from the foil and added some wine in best “deglazing” style, and poured a bit of that over our servings, and it was perfect.
I suggested, when reading the oven-roasting recipe, that we could also slow-roast some tomatoes. It’s D’s thing to do, and he said sure get some, so I bought 10 Romas at the Bowl. Not the best of summer tomatoes, and they were not at all sweet, but combined with the pork, they were a good addition. D put herbs on them – at least marjoram, oregano (including oregano flowers), and thyme, not sure what-all else. We had two Romas each and have 6 of the cooked ones left in the fridge.
Used up the very last of the marinated roasted red peppers I made awhile back, and also the greens from a bunch of radishes D chose at the farmers’ market this morning. They were quite holey, but tasted fine. He sauteed them but didn’t steam at all, and they were slightly tougher than usual but still tasted good.
So, wine. 1/4 cup of brown sugar might suggest a good beer, and that was a possibility, but D wanted me to look at my notes from The Wine Mine back on the 6th of June, to see if any of the very unusual reds we got might suggest itself for this dinner. When I read “Easton, 2017, Amador Cty Zin – sweetish? Ham + potatoes – Beaujolais-type sweetness” we said “That’s the one!” and indeed it was. We really enjoyed this, and should get more (though at $18.50, it’s not cheap). The Wine Mine people described this as partial/whole cluster fermentation, and there’s something about CO2 [production?], but I didn’t get it written down well.
For dessert, we ate up the last of the pie-crust “cookies,” from the 4th, this time without any jelly, just plain, and they were still very flaky and delicious. D poured us a teensy bit of E’s rosolio which is just superb.
At the farmers’ market, I intended to buy a Morell’s Country Batard, but D saw the sesame loaf and expressed interest. Since we’d had that before and really liked it, that’s what we got. I made us grilled cheese sandwiches with some of the Fontina Valle d’Aosta I bought on spec at The Cheese Board on Thursday, the onions I soaked but didn’t use up for the potato salad on the 4th, one sliced tomato from Riverdog at the market on Thursday, Grey Poupon for D and mayonnaise for both of us. Also, a radish from the market this morning (whose greens are mentioned above, sauteed for dinner). Not great on the veggies, but a yummy lunch.
Later in the afternoon, D brought out the tiny melon he had bought at the farmers’ market, a Charentais. It was delicious. After I’d taken a couple of bites, he went and got a bottle of Armagnac (Chateau Lacaize) and added it to the melon. I actually preferred the melon on its own, though I’m sure I remember there being a liqueur that worked well with it in the past.