My P.S. had finally made room in our freezers for all of the meat he’d bought during the holidays when he got two more large turkeys as a gift from his union. He asked me to do something with a large rack of ribs. Oh no, I’d already promised to use up a 5# package of extra lean ground beef and make my ricotta meatballs. Who was going to eat all of this meat?
My P.S. assured me I had a week before the ribs would be thawed and need to be cooked. I agreed and so a week later stood in front of the fridge wondering what new way I should make them. Pork would be a nice change to the Thanksgiving turkey we’d finally finished. I imagined a zesty sauced rib falling apart in my hand as I ate it. Maybe it was good timing after all!
I’d blogged a few of my rib recipes already and wanted to try a new version. I’d thought I’d seen a recipe where cranberries were used in the glaze. With my new hobby of making jellied canned cranberries from scratch, this might be even better timing that I’d thought. It was worth a search to find a cranberry sauce for our ribs.
I have to admit I found the recipe on the Ocean Spray site, which seems wrong because I was planning to make my own cranberry sauce. But looking at the clock I realized I didn’t have time to do that and have the ribs ready for dinner. So I did reach into the cupboard for a can of cranberries to use and don’t have to apologize to Ocean Spray. But sometime in the future I would like to make my own cranberries again and try the recipe. We loved the flavors but I also like making things from scratch as much as possible.
The sauce was very simple: one can of cranberries and one jar of Heinz’s Chili Sauce. We always have a couple of jars of chili sauce in our pantry because I make my own seafood sauce with ketchup and chili sauce and a bit of ground horseradish.
I mashed the cranberries (I used the jelly ones, not the whole cranberry kind) then poured the bottle of chili sauce into the bowl. I added the red wine vinegar, a teaspoon of garlic powder and a tablespoon of dried diced onions. I went the dried route, instead of using fresh garlic and finely diced onions. Sue me, it was a lazy day.
Once the sauce was mixed I tackled the ribs. I cut them into 2 bone portions, and put them into a preheated nonstick skillet on medium high heat.
I browned the ribs well on the meaty side, then on the flip side and placed them into a 9×13 baking pan.
I spread half of the sauce over the ribs, sealed the top with foil, and put them into a 350°F oven for an hour. My kitchen smelled so good, I was drooling all afternoon!
After an hour I pulled them out of the oven, took off the foil, and they were beautiful already. I spread more of the sauce over the ribs and placed them back in the oven uncovered for 1 ½ hours at 375°. There was about 1 1/2 “ of liquid in the pan from the meat and the sauce, and I wanted it to cook off a bit.
After 2 ½ hours total, the ribs were perfectly done; still moist but falling apart tender. The sauce stayed on the ribs very well while cooking, and were so delicious. I think I could have used just half of the sauce and froze the rest for another time. It was good but it was a bit overpowering to have used the whole recipe of sauce, even though the recipe called for using it on 3 pounds of ribs, and I had almost 4 pounds.
We were very pleased with the ribs and the flavors and will definitely make this again. As I said, I’d like to use my own cranberry sauce, and maybe fresh garlic and onions, just because.
Cranberry Barbecue Pork Ribs
3 pounds pork ribs; cut into 2 bone sections
Salt and pepper
1 14 ounce can jellied cranberries
1 12 ounce bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (you could also use white or cider vinegar)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sprinkle the rib sections with salt and pepper, then sear them in a preheated ovenproof skillet on both sides until nicely browned and caramelized.
Place ribs in a 9×13 or ovenproof dish in a single layer.
Mash cranberries and rest of ingredients together and spoon sauce over ribs. I suggest using ¼ of the sauce. Cover the pan with foil and put it in the oven for one hour.
After an hour, remove the foil and add another ¼ of the sauce over the ribs. Turn up the oven to 375°F and leave uncovered. Bake for another 1 ½ hours.
After 1 ½ hours, check for doneness; if a fork goes into the ribs easily and it can separate the ribs, it is done.
Sauce is good for about 6 pounds of ribs
Recipe calls for 3 pounds of ribs and serves 4