Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. I had intended to spend this weekend making a number of beef and vegetarian dishes as dictated by a fairly new habit I had formed in creating a twitter poll to dictate my food experimentation for the week. However, that was before the 8 inches of snow covering our yard and the emptied out grocery store shelves.
I started digging around and found some St. Louis style pork ribs, and a friend of mine had just had a conversation with me earlier in the week about her rib woes. Despite many trial and errors, she just could not seem to make her ribs tender.
I decided to try to methods to these ribs to see if I could assist in this problem (I even took notes, which, as many close family and friends would tell you is an exception rather than a rule in my cooking). I prepared one way using a steaming method, while the other slab, I prepared using a roasting method.
There are many decisions to make when making ribs: pork or beef, membrane or no membrane, dry rub or wet marinade. There are endless possibilities and even more preferences. Personally, I prefer a dry rub on pork ribs. I believe keeping the membrane intact, while making for slightly tougher eating, leads to a moister and more tender finished product.
Below, you will find the recipe for the dry rub as well as cooking instructions for both methods.
Dry Rub Recipe:
- Combine the above ingredients thoroughly. Store in spice cabinet if not in use.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp smoked paprika (I used smoked here because I did not have access to my smoker due to the weather; if you opt to smoke the ribs, which we will discuss in a later article, you can use regular paprika)
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 4 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper (less for lower heat, more for higher heat)
- Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in spice cabinet when not in use.
- 1 slab St. Louis ribs, pork or beef
- Dry rub (see recipe above)
- Apple Cider Vinegar (approximately 2 cups)
- Cover ribs with dry rub on both sides until well coated. Do this at least two hours ahead of time or leave in fridge overnight for stronger flavor.
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Let sit at this temperature for at least 20 minutes so that the oven can conduct the heat.
- Place ribs in a pan on a roasting rack. Place the apple cider vinegar beneath it (not touching) and cover with foil. Place in oven for 4 hours.
- Remove foil and increase temperature to 350 degrees for 15 minutes to put some color on the ribs and caramelize the brown sugar on the ribs. Reserve the liquid. Cut ribs into servings (every 2nd or 3rd bone).
- Follow steps 1 and 2 of the Steamed Ribs. Instead of a roasting rack, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil paper. Place the ribs on it and cover with foil. At this point, follow steps 3 and 4 of the Steamed Ribs Recipe.