We’ve been debating here where to buy the best pork ribs for cooking at home. We’ve been disappointed with our usual grocery store’s selection; the last package was so tough we are still joking about them. I vote that they were mismarked, they were actually ancient dinosaur ribs.
Twice we’ve had good luck with SuperTarget’s ribs, which come in big racks and need a bit of trimming. They’re the ones I’ve mentioned have “knuckles” or whatever they call those white cartilage pieces on the ends of the ribs that should be trimmed off. They aren’t trimmed. But that defect aside, they are great ribs.
My P.S. (Purchaser of Sow/hubby) brought home two racks and I tucked one in the freezer then set about finding a new BBQ sauce recipe to make for the other rack of ribs. I have several sauces now that we love, but I hadn’t found a go-to bourbon sauce yet.
I found an interesting looking recipe on About.com that sounded good, and I just happened to have a container of pineapple juice leftover from the small amount I’d needed for another dish. Don’t you hate when that happens with food ingredients? They don’t sell pineapple juice in ½ cup amounts, so you need to buy a whole can and then it sits and makes you feel guilty it’s not being used. So this bourbon sauce was going to ease my guilt. Hopefully it would taste good in the process.
I prepared the sauce ahead of time, wanting it to reduce down and thicken nicely. I measured the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan and stirred as it came to a boil. Then I reduced the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. I stirred it occasionally but it wasn’t sticking or burning. When it was thickened I turned the heat off and let it sit until I was ready to sauce my ribs.
I cut the rack of pork ribs into sections of 2, for easier handling. I’ve found that’s a good size for searing and stacking in my slow cooker. I heat a large nonstick skillet and put the rib sections in without and oil. They sear very well on their own, dry. I like to get both sides browned, then put the first layer into the slow cooker.
The sauce is spooned over the layer, then I add the rest of the ribs to the pan and cover them with sauce as well. Then all you do is cover it and slide it into a 350 degree oven. I let it roast for about an hour and a half to give it a good start, then remove it to the slow cooker base and let it cook for another 3 or 4 hours. That’s my “I forgot to start them early and they won’t be done by dinner time unless I give them a head start in the oven” trick.
It’s a result of having slept in this morning and woke up to “oh oh, it’s almost noon and I don’t have the slow cooker going yet”. I might make this a regular routine; I’ve done this twice now and it is perfect timing for fall off the bones, moist ribs. You could do it the long way and cook it for 6-8 hours in the crockpot or slow cooker if you’re an early riser or eat a late dinner. Your choice.
We really liked the sauce, it was very different than any we’ve tried. I’d been surprised there were no onions in the recipe, but perhaps they are assuming you layer sliced onions over the meat before spooning the sauce over the ribs. I left the onions out of the picture totally and we didn’t miss them!
It’s one of the sweeter sauces, but very flavorful. I am a bourbon fan so I was a fan of this sauce from the first sip. I mean bite. We had a pasta salad and a big lettuce salad for sides and made a good dent in the mini mountain of ribs. The leftovers will be good de-boned and eaten in sandwiches another day. I only used half of the sauce and that was a very generous coating. I froze the other half for another time.
Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon
2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (I used ½ teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer on medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce reaches desired thickness. When cooled, taste and adjust seasoning.