Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mufasa's Fork-Tender Baby Back Ribs

At last, here's a much-anticipated guest post from Mufasa! He's a super star husband, extraordinary father to Looly, Bean, and Roo, master fly hunter, and a force to be reckoned with when he has a slab of meat in his hands. Take it away, Mufasa...

Three years ago when Amy was thinking about starting this blog, I played the role of dutiful husband. I told her how therapeutic it would be to write about the trials and tribulations of our family. I guess I must’ve gotten carried away because I promised to be a regular guest blogger.

I haven’t been so regular. It turns out blogging is a lot of work. Well, after a few gentle reminders I decided to gear up and tackle a topic that doesn’t get much airtime on this site: grilling. Now, I know that Amy has the talent and interest to be an excellent griller, but she leaves the domain of outdoor cooking to me. I think she likes having Looly, Bean and Roo see their father cook. I like having them see me cook, too.

I decided to have the kids help me make my slow cooked, fork-tender bbq ribs. This isn’t an endeavor to be taken lightly, not because it is hard to pull off, but because it is a whole day affair. My dirty little secret is that when I make these ribs, I usually (over)emphasize the time commitment. If people jump to the conclusion that they must be a lot of work, there isn’t much I can do about it, can I?
My most memorable rib making adventure happened in Albuquerque when we were visiting Amy’s sister. I decided to break in her new grill with these ribs and unfortunately “missed out” on a day trip to Santa Fe. Instead, I started a glorious day with a trip to the grocery store with an early 80’s vintage manual transmission pick-up truck as my chariot. Next I enjoyed some quality me time as I prepared my ribs accompanied by a frosty 6-pack. When the gang returned I was eager to greet them with some falling-off-the bone meat. Amy’s mom dubbed them “fork-tender” and the name stuck.

This version began at Blue Ribbon Meat Market, my favorite old school, always packed, family-owned butcher shop. I love taking the kids to this place where the display cases barely contain all the meat and the 10 minute wait to be helped provides delightful people watching.
Like all good rib recipes, this one starts with a rub. The measurements are approximate and should be fiddled with liberally.

Mufasa's Fork-Tender Baby Back Ribs

4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
½ tsp chili powder
2 slabs baby back ribs                          

1. Combine spices in a small bowl and mix well (preferably with your fingers).
 2. Cut two slabs of baby back ribs into sections with 3 or 4 ribs each.   
3. Find some helpers and get them to rub the rub into the ribs vigorously. 
4. Put the ribs into a foil pan, cover with foil and cook on indirect heat for 2 – 3 hours, after which they should be fork-tender
5. When the ribs are tender, brush liberally with bbq sauce and put them back directly on the grill grate (still cooking with indirect heat) for 10-15 minutes, enough for the sauce to develop a hint of crispness.
You can use any bbq sauce you like but I prefer to make my own. 

Mufasa's Favorite BBQ Sauce

1 cup ketchup
½ cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Just combine all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil and let cool.
 Enjoy, but don’t let on how easy they were to make!

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