Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Belated Menu Monday: Ribs Edition

A good blogger always posts in a timely manner.  I am not a good blogger.  But I am a good friend, hostess and mom most days.  Instead of blogging I've been bacheloretting a friend, showing other friends around Cincinnati and taking Max on adventures.  Hence the Menu Monday on Thursday. 

I accomplished two cooking bucking list items this week and now I’m strutting around like a proud rooster.

The first was oven-roasted ribs.

As a kid, one of my favorite meals was ribs. There were plenty of rib joints close to our house but it’s not the most economical of meals for a family of 6.  Getting take-out ribs was for special occasions only but when a slab of St. Louis Style spareribs went on sale at the grocery store, mom would make them at home.  We didn’t have a fancy smoker and no one was going to break out the Weber Grill in the dead of a Chicago winter, so Mom often slow roasted them in the over.  And they were delicious. I have memories of piles of sauce stained paper towel mountains on the kitchen table. I can picture my brothers sauce-smeared smiles as they discarded another cleaned bone onto the bone plate.

For some reason, I always thought ribs were difficult to make.  Perhaps years of watching barbeque cook-off’s on the Food Networks tainted my memories, turning a simple meal prep into a day long process.  Sure, if you have a smoker and are competing for prizes, ribs can be long, scientific process. However, as I discovered on Friday, making them at home in your oven is quite simple. I followed this recipe exactly and they were delicious.  My only suggestion is to cut back on the salt in the rub.

My second check mark on my cooking bucket list came when I made homemade barbeque sauce. I think my love of ribs came more from loving the sauce than loving the rib meat. Open Pit was my sauce of choice in childhood.  Mom would buy it by the gallon.  For a long time, Open Pit was extinct. However, last month I saw it sitting on the bottom shelf of the grocery store, like a long lost friend, waiting for a reunion. I immediately grilled some chicken and basted it with Open Pit.


My mouth watered as I anticipated that delicious taste from my childhood.  I took a big bite, expecting a joyful medley of flavors.

It was terrible.

Apparently my childhood taste buds weren’t refined. Also living in the Deep South for many years, where barbeque came second only to Jesus,  also influenced my barbeque preference. Open Pit tasted artificial. It turned my chicken a creepy pink color. I threw away the rest of the bottle and decided I was accomplished enough to attempt my own sauce.

When searching for recipes I was quite surprised and the simplicity of sauce making.  Throw some stuff in a pot and heat it up.  The art is found not in the cooking process, but in the ingredients. Everyone has their own secret recipe and everyone thinks theirs is the best.  I used this recipe as a first attempt mostly because I already has all the ingredients on hand. It was simple to make and was quite good. It was on the sweeter side so I think next time I’ll use this recipe as a guide but tweak it so it’s less sweet and more vinegary. (Apparently vinegary is a word. Huh).

This picture shows why I am not a food blogger.  This is the closest attempt to proper lighting I'll ever make.  However- MASON JAR.  I win points in the Pinterest community for that shit. 
As for this weeks menu…..there wasn’t much of one and I don’t have any recipes to share.  I traveled last weekend and I’m leaving again today.  We have friends in town in between.  Dinner is basically me making up something based on what’s in the fridge and freezer.

Monday: Breaded Eggplant with Pasta, Caprese Salad
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Italian Sausage Sandwiches, Tater tots
Thursday-Sunday: Travel

Do you like to cook during those crazy weeks where you barely have free time or do you just call your local pizza joint?  What is your favorite quick meal to make? 

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Emily said...

"I am a good friend, hostess and mom" yes you are! Totally wished we lived closer to hang out with you guys more and also to mooch off of the amazing cooking that goes on in that house of yours! My go to too busy to cook but must not break down and get pizza/fastfood (again...) is mac and cheese (I recommend annies) with a ton of veggies mixed in. Pretty easy, just saute whatever veggies I have in the fridge/freezer while the water boils then mix it all together with the cheese sauce and add some diced tomato and maybe a package of tuna or salmon (or chicken I suppose) at the end.

Anonymous said...

"Also living in the Deep South for many years, where barbeque came second only to Jesus, also influenced my barbeque preference..."

This made me giggle. A lot.

Also, now I want to make my own barbeque sauce (and put it in a mason jar, of course).

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