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Patriotic Molé Covered Ribs

July 2, 2009

The 4th of July BBQ bonanza that is my weekend started a bit early with an impromptu Tuesday night Rib Fest a la my house. Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a reason people don’t do ribs on weeknights. This 3 hour process included about 3 lbs of country style ribs, a pound of potatoes, a head of cabbage, and a dozen devil eggs.*

Still, your patriotism just can’t be called into question when you’re sitting around with your fellow Amer’cans** eating large amounts of meat. And I’m happy to oblige. I’ve had Molé-Rubbed Ribs on the brain since checking out the gorgeous weekender meal over at Burning Pasta. It seemed to work perfectly with my head-over-heals infatuation of molé, and looked so easy that I figured, hell, pulling this off on a weeknight would be no big thing.

Fast forward to Tuesday night, and a very hungry group of us waiting hours upon hours upon hours for these ribs to be fall-off-the-bone tender. Serves me right for not reading the directions all the way home and looking closely at the cooking time. Let me save you from this one. It’s 45mins at 375 degrees and then another two hours at 250 degrees.

Yea, apparently ribs take a long time. Still, they looked so damn pretty in the butcher place of my tried-and-true favorite local, organic meat place. The real active part of the process is using your
sharp paring knife for 10 minutes of fat trimmin’ and then scoring through the hard membrane on the back of the ribs.

I have no real technique to this part*** other than turning the rack over, and cutting between each rib. I hear its a good idea to do this without cutting through the meat on the other side. This allows it to retract to the bone while it cooks so there’s less gristle in your teeth later.

The m
olé paste was definitely not local, and neither was the brown sugar, but the rest of the ingredients (down to the Chaddsford Winery white wine) were local, as were all of the side dishes. And despite for this being a looooooong time to put together, it was mostly non-active time, which meant I had nothing to do but chill on the deck with the lovely Vanessa and Jetta with our cocktails.

*That I may or may not have eaten mostly by myself. May or may not.
**Or American-lites
***Meaning, there was no YouTube video showing me a technique for this part

Cuttin’ them up. With large quantities of sauce all over the cutting board, I was getting a little nervous there wouldn’t be any left on the ribs. But my fears were for naught.

Molé-Rubbed Ribs

1 rack raw pork ribs, spare or baby-back

1/2 cup molé paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tblsp cayenne pepper
1 tblsp vanilla extract
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup white wine

Prep

For this recipe, I used country spare ribs, which are huge and meaty and take forever to cook. Babybacks might be a little more tender, but this sauce is substainal enough to go with any type of ribs you are in the mood for. And the country spare ribs are much more forgiving

If you haven’t been won over to the gloriousness of chocolate on your meat, I defy you to try this recipe and tell me you’re not in love. The paste also had the added benefit of doing a great job tenderizing the meat and helping with a gorgeous carmelization. Mix the paste, brown sugar, garlic cloves, cayenne pepper, and vanilla extract – and feel free to taste it and edit this rub as needed. If you don’t like the taste of it in the bowl, no way are you going to like the taste of it on your ribs.

Place the rack of ribs bone-side down in a shallow roasting pan (cookie tray doesn’t have high enough edges for the amount of run off these guys will have. And go crazy with the rub – it’ll seem like a lot, but really coat the ribs.

Refrigerate these ribs for at least an hour (but overnight works smashingly well, too).

Cooking

When you’re ready to cook these bad boys, take them out of the fridge for at least 20 mins to bring them back to room temperature. For optimal tenderness, you should always let your meat come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and cook ribs for 45 minutes.

At that point, reduce heat to 250 degrees and add your white wine over the ribs. Carefully tent the ribs with foil and put the whole thing back into the oven for an additional two hours. Every 30 minutes, baste the ribs with the wine/spice liquid that’s gathering in the roast pan.

Remove the ribs from the oven, let rest for 15 minutes, slice into individual ribs, and serve.

Huge pile o’ ribs

Waiting for ribs – they may be smiling, but they’re starving on the inside.

This recipe really couldn’t be easier, despite my wining. Actually, that’s what makes it so much fun – tons of time to sit back and let things go on auto-pilot and just wait out the ribs. I’d recommend having snacks for your guests (I was really unprepared), but the dry rub is flavorful enough and filling enough to (almost) totally make up for the wait.


Jetta, with her Rib Swan leftovers

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