I’m kind of a freak about not getting my fingers dirty. Hate it, always have, always will. So the best part about my dad’s ribs growing up is that they were so off-the-bone tender, I never had to dirty my fingers to consume them. The second-best thing was that they tasted pretty good.
One day, I decided I too wanted ribs but didn’t want to wait until getting back to North Carolina to have them. I’ve heard my dad tell my uncle hundreds of times how to make these, who claims every time that he will definitely try making these himself whenever he goes back to New York. (Times he’s made ribs: 0).
I wanted to make sure I got the cooking time just right, so I did a little research on the internet and realized that there are two basic schools of thought: to smoke or not to smoke. Some people were positively poetic about the importance of smoking the ribs for authentic flavor! I didn’t have a smoker so the decision was made for me. Decisions made for me are my favorite kind of decisions. 🙂
Without a smoker, the key to tender ribs is lots of steam. My dad boils his for awhile, but you can also seal the ribs up nice and tight and bake them in an oven for a long time (2+ hours) on low heat (300-degrees F or lower). I didn’t have any barbecue sauce, so I was going to try to make my own, but each recipe called for ingredients I didn’t have on hand.
And this is how I found Alton Brown’s Who Loves Ya Baby-Back ribs, which used a dry rub and a white wine glaze. These were my first glazed ribs, as opposed to saucy ribs, and I really enjoyed them. I am definitely going to make these again, especially now that I have proven to Martin that ribs are meant to be enjoyed, not feared.
The only change I made to the recipe is using soy sauce, rather than Worcestershire sauce. I could have sworn I had some in my pantry, but didn’t, and was forced to make a last minute adjustment. I think the difference in taste was negligible and eight kinds of yummy.
So there you go. I now open up the floor for “to smoke or not to smoke” debates. What are your thoughts on this?