Friday, January 14, 2011

Chinese Barbecued Baby Back Ribs:
Delicious ribs with no advance fuss!

Until a few years ago, I thought that really delicious ribs were a burden to make, requiring a lot of advance preparation such as boiling or marinating before they were grilled or baked.
   I avoided making them for that reason.
   Then I happened across a recipe in Gourmet magazine called Chinese Barbecued Baby Back Ribs (click for the recipe) that promised juicy ribs in just one hour with minimum fuss.
   You can bet I was going to try them.
   Although it actually took a bit longer than an hour to both prepare and cook the ribs, the recipe did produce ones that were tender and lip-smackingly delicious.
   The secret, the recipe’s introduction says, is finishing the ribs under the broiler.
   This is now my go-to ribs recipe for winter. I’m still on the prowl for the perfect, easy, grilled rack-of-ribs recipe for summer.
   Chinese Barbecued Baby Back Ribs are perfect for Friday night, when it’s time to kick back after a hard week. It’s family-friendly; young ones will like them as much as adults. Serve the ribs with fries and/or salad for the full effect.
   I have one official this-will-make-it-better tip for these ribs: Let them rest for 10 minutes after they are cooked, before cutting them up and serving. This improves the taste!
   To make the sauce for the ribs, fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce and vegetable oil are puréed in a blender. The mixture is transferred to a bowl, and hoisin sauce and honey are mixed in.
   A half-cup of the sauce is reserved, while the racks of baby back ribs (also called back ribs) are coated with the remainder (use a silicone brush or spoon to put the sauce on the ribs.)
   The racks are placed, meaty sides down, on a baking sheet and are baked for about 40 minutes at 400 F. Halfway through baking time, the racks are turned over, basted with some of the reserved sauce and put back in the oven.
   After this 40-minute baking time, the ribs are brushed, meaty sides up, with the last of the sauce, and are returned to the oven. The ribs are cooked four to five inches from the heat of the broiler until lightly charred, four to eight minutes (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t go from charred to completely burned!)
  Let the racks rest for 10 minutes, cut into pieces and served.

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