Some days the idea of a sticky, delicious, home bubbled barbecue sauce and the myriad of dirty dishes it tends to require is just too much to face. Yet it was a perfect day for ribs -- beautiful weather, a welcoming picnic table in the yard, and a friend coming to spend the afternoon. So I dug up a recipe I had been saving from meat cooking superstar Bruce Aidells and started to tinker. Like Aidells I made a seasoning paste of rosemary (2 TB or so), thyme (about 1 TB), fennel seeds ( 1 1/2 TB), sage (2 tsp), chili peppers (almost 1 TB), oregano (2 tsp --my addition), all spice (1/2 tsp), coriander (1 tsp), salt (1 1/2 TB) and pepper (2 tsp) mixed with fruity olive oil. I rubbed that mixture over both sides of the ribs and let the meat sit at room temperature for 2 hours. I wanted to make sure our oven-cooked ribs were nice and tender so after the marinating time I splashed half a bottle of red wine over and around the meat, sealed the baking tray with aluminum foil and placed the ribs in a 300º oven for 2 hours until the meat was just about falling off the bone. I uncovered the ribs, poured off the pan juices ( I would usually add at least some of those into my sauce) and brushed the bone side of the racks with good quality balsamic vinegar. I broiled the ribs, bone side up, for about 4 minutes until the balsamic formed a crusty glaze, then flipped them over, brushed the meat side with more balsamic vinegar and broiled for another 4 minutes. Crispy, lightly sweet oven-barbecued ribs. No one asked for sauce.
I'm just a self-taught home cook who likes to try new things. One day when things were a little slow and dinner looked better than usual I decided to post the results on Facebook. Then I did it again and again -- and well, here I am, another addition to the blogosphere.
James, aside from being the "luckiest man alive" ;-), is my very tolerant boyfriend of nearly 10 years. I hope you enjoy sharing his dinner.