Cucina Valentina

Cucina Valentina

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ian's Baby Back Ribs

Ah, baby back ribs.  While they don't come in a casserole or crock pot, I consider them to be a comfort food.  When you strike the perfect balance between savory and sweet, they are soul soothing - to me anyway...

And, I could use a hug right about now.

As I write this post, I'm adrift with melancholy.  It was difficult to put on a smile and say goodbye to my sister, Lesley, this past week, knowing she is headed back to the opposite end of the country and I'm not sure when I will see her again.

Michael and Lesley

Though we didn't have the luxury of sharing our childhoods (we only found each other in 2000), we've developed an undeniably deep connection.  I miss her already.

I know my husband feels the same, but in stoic male fashion, he's not showing it.  He and my brother-in-law Mike, have that same connection.  Put those two together and it's a guaranteed comedy hour.  

Ian and Michael

I can just imagine how wonderful life would be if we ever wound up in the same state, let alone, neighborhood.  But, for now, all we can do is cherish the times we are able to spend together.

Michael, Lesley, Cindy and Ian

I'd assured Mike and Les that it was going to be hot as usual here in sunny Socal, so they left Connecticut during the season's first snow flurries dreaming of sunshine and armed with an arsenal of shorts and sundresses.

No sooner did they arrive than we had our first rainstorm in over six months, complete with thunder and lighting.  Our temperatures may have dipped into the 60s?  And, as our fur kids were running for cover, my sister was wondering what she'd done to deserve such a cruel twist of fate.

We did make the best of it though

Wouldn't you know it, they day they flew home another Indian summer began, and we are right back up into the 90s!  I'm beginning to feel like global warming is hitting our corner of the earth extra hard.

To cheer each other up in the absence of our loved ones, Ian and I decided a patio party for two was in order, and what better patio fare, than baby back ribs?

We buy them by the case when they go on sale, cryo-packed in three rack bundles that keep extraordinarily well in the freezer for months.

Ian's recipe is pretty straightforward, but he guards it with his life.  He's probably going to pitch a fit that I posted his secret to amazing ribs, but the truth is, they're just too good not to share.

The ingredients are simple: 

 You've gotta love the silicone basting brush.  Easy to use, easy to clean.

Once the ribs are on the barbecue, there is no need for basting.  The turbinado sugar melts into a crispy coating that seals in all the spices and flavor.

When the meat begins to shrink back from the bone, you know they are getting close to being done.

Resting the ribs (or any meat for that matter) for at least 15 minutes is an integral part of keeping them moist and succulent.

Ian's Baby Back Ribs

3 racks pork baby back ribs, silver skin removed
1/2 C honey mustard
4 T Chef Merito's Fajita Seasoning
3 T crushed garlic
1 T chipotle chili powder
3 T turbinado brown sugar


Mix first four ingredients well and brush on both sides of ribs.  Sear over gas or coal fire on medium high, 5 - 7 minutes per side.  

Sprinkle both sides of ribs with turbinado sugar and move to center of barbecue.  Turn off center burners but leave side burners on low and let ribs bake two + hours until meat is shrinking from the bone.  Remove from heat and let rest at least 15 minutes.

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