Monday, April 9, 2012

Corned pork ribs

About 10 days ago, I made a brine and put about half of the ribs from our pigs into it to make some corned pork ribs.  I'd never had them before, but my mother fondly remembers having them regularly as a child.  There was not much online about them, nor could I find any mention in my old cookbooks.  So I had to wing it.

I used the same brine recipe that I use to make corned beef.  Used the same jars, too.  I cut the ribs into serving size pieces and stuffed them into two of those 2.5 gallon jars, topped them with brine-filled ziplocs to keep the meat under the liquid, and put them in the cellar fridge.  Then I marked the happy date on my calendar that they would be ready to cook and went about my business.

Pork ribs corning/brining in a big jar.

They were actually ready on Thursday, but it was three more days before I had a chance to try them out.  The scant instructions my mother could recall were to boil them with cabbage, similar to the way we cook corned beef.  I was in the mood for ribs on the grill, and had made a kickin' barbecue sauce last week, so we took a chance.

I par-baked them, covered with foil, for about an hour and a half.  A cautious nibble....tender enough, but hoo-boy, SALTY!!!  So they all went into a stock pot to boil for a minute or so and then get another good rinsing.  Next time, I'll start with the boiling.  These were far saltier than the corned beef, but they were also much, much thinner cuts of meat.  For ribs on the grill, I'll probably boil them briefly in 2-3 changes of water.  For corned pork ribs with veggies, maybe one change of water, as the veggies will take up a lot of the salt.  We tend to throw in a lot of veggies:  carrots, onions, rutabagas, cabbage, and maybe a potato or two.

Ribs ready for the oven for par-baking.

Peter took them out to the grill to blacken them, slathering on the barbecue sauce.  They were a bit different, for sure, but delicious.  We cleaned those bones and were looking for more!

Those two delicious BBQ ribs on my plate are the same two on the far left in the photo above.

Here is the BBQ sauce recipe I used.  It was a combination of recipes found online and tweaked according to both my food beliefs and what I had in my cupboards.  We both agreed that it is a keeper, and should we have a successful tomato crop this year, I'll be putting some of this up from our garden produce.  I'd been looking for a good sauce recipe, as the ones in the store are loaded with ingredients that we just won't eat....mainly high fructose corn syrup, msg, and other chemical ingredients.  This one could, in theory, be made entirely from home-grown ingredients.

Kickin' BBQ Sauce

(All ingredient amounts are approximate.  Adjust to your taste preferences.)
2 Tbsp bacon grease
1 med-large onion, minced
1 head home-grown garlic, or 4-6 cloves store-bought
1.5 tsp mustard powder
1/3 tsp hot pepper powder (more if not homegrown, to taste....I grew some very hot cayennes this year)
a handful each of dried oregano and basil, pulverized between the palms, or about a tsp or two each of flakes
1.5 cups or so of tomato paste (maybe two small cans?)
1 cup broth (I used pork since I had some in the fridge, I think any would work as long as it is gelatinous)
More broth as needed to get the consistency you prefer
3 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp raw wildflower honey
Liquid stevia to taste (half dropperful)

Saute the onions and garlic in the bacon grease until nice and soft, then add everything else except the ACV, honey, and stevia.  Cook on a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.  Add broth as needed to keep it the right texture, but remember, you'll be adding more liquid after taking it off the heat.

Remove from heat, cool to warm/hot, add honey, stir will, add ACV and stevia, and mix well.  Put into jars for the fridge and use in about two weeks, or freeze in portions.

This is also wonderful as a sauce for pulled pork, and would make great hot chicken wings.

Hmmmm......what else could I make with this BBQ sauce?  Bring on summer, and grilling season!

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