Living in Vancouver (or any other ridiculously expensive city) means that owning the actual space and equipment to barbecue is a luxury. I wish I could go back in time and remind younger me of this fact, I would have been on the deck barbecuing every single meal all year long. I used to think that tasty ribs cooked in the oven were a contradiction in terms, which is silly when you think about it – ribs taste delicious however they’re cooked! I’ve been using my dear Uncle Howard’s rib recipe for a couple of years, it doesn’t feel like a real family gathering until he’s handed me the perfect spicy Caesar. He’s cautioned me on the fact that people think boiling ribs to soften them up is a taboo practice which is baffling to me, as this recipe makes the tenderest and most flavourful ribs I’ve ever tasted. Regardless, I’m here to tell you that delicious ribs can be made in your oven and best of all, the recipe can be completed in small steps well-ahead of time. The type of rib you choose isn’t exceptionally important, what you’re looking for is plenty of meat and a minimum of dangling excess fat and sinew (also known as silver skin). You can make your own barbecue sauce or buy it, I find that if I’m having a large dinner party it’s easier (and cheaper!) to buy store-bought barbecue sauce. I think that ribs are best when served with coleslaw and corn on the cob, this isn’t a rule by any means but I’ve never had ribs that didn’t taste heavenly when they were served with either or both of these two sides.
easy oven ribs:
As many ribs as you need per person, err on a larger amount and you’ll (fingers crossed) have leftovers
3 lemons, rinsed under very hot water to remove their bitter and waxy flavour
1 whole head of garlic, each clove smashed to remove the skin and left whole
1/2 cup of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. whole peppercorn
- Heat a very large stock pot over high heat about two thirds full of water. Add the lemons, garlic, salt, and peppercorns.
- Carefully remove any of the tough silver skin found on the ribs, this tough tissue should be loosened at one end and then torn from the ribs in one piece.
- Add the ribs to the boiling water, turn the heat down to simmering, and cook for one hour.
- Remove the ribs from the boiling water and lay on a large baking pan, transfer the meat to the fridge and allow to cool down completely (I like to leave them overnight).
- Take the ribs out of the fridge about half and hour before broiling and preheat the broiler. Brush ribs on both sides with barbecue sauce using a pastry brush, brown under the broiler until the sugars start to caramelize, flipping with tongs so that the both sides can begin to brown and sizzle.
- Remove the ribs from the oven and serve with coleslaw, corn on the cob, watermelon, or any other summery side you prefer.
What can I say? I’ve been listening to The Cars almost non-stop the past week.
The Cars – Drive
By all means, use only jalapeño peppers for this recipe. I went to 2 different grocery stores when I made this particular batch and was only able to find 5 jalapeño peppers and so I subbed in whatever small hot peppers I could find. Although I roasted the peppers to help take out some of their heat, my guests still found the jalapeños overwhelmingly spicy (although I preferred them, so knowing your audience is helpful here). I like the reliability of cheddar when it comes to these peppers, but use any cheese that sounds good to you. I specify full fat cream cheese because I find that low fat versions tend to have a gritty texture when heated, and if you’re wrapping these in bacon I feel like the whole low fat idea becomes moot anyway. The most time consuming part of this recipe comes from hollowing out the peppers and removing the seeds, the stuffing and wrapping part goes by quickly in comparison. I’m always trying to convince myself I don’t need to wear gloves when I cut up hot peppers but after several fiery eyeball incidents I’ve resigned myself to a pair of rubber gloves reserved just for this purpose. Serve something ice cold to drink with these, I suggest a really cold light tasting beer or giving rosé slushies a try.
bacon wrapped stuffed hot peppers:
16 small hot peppers of your choice
8 oz. full fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
1 bunch of scallions, things sliced (both white and green parts)
1 medium-sized tomato with the seeds removed, cut into a very fine dice
About 2 Tbsp. worth of fresh sage, cut into fine ribbons
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
16 slices of bacon, sliced in half lengthwise
Cilantro or parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prep the hot peppers by cutting them in half lengthwise, carefully removing the seeds without destroying the shape of the pepper – you’re aiming for little pepper boats. Roast the peppers cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about a half hour. Allow them to cool to room temperature, leaving the oven on if you’re making the peppers right away.
- Combine the cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, diced tomato, fresh sage, lime juice, kosher, and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until thoroughly mixed.
- Using 2 teaspoons, carefully stuff each pepper with the cream cheese mixture. I find that I usually have to reallocate some odds and ends once I’m finished, but you should have enough to generously fill each of the peppers.
- Carefully wrap each stuffed pepper with half a slice of bacon, being careful not to pull too tightly as the bacon will shrink as it’s heated. Arrange them on the same parchment-lined baking sheet that you used before, making sure there’s space between each pepper.
- Return the bacon wrapped peppers to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes. Serve while still hot garnished with the parsley or cilantro, ideally with cold beer, and watch how quickly they disappear. In fact, you’ll probably be kicking yourself for not doubling the recipe so make note for any future stuffed hot pepper endeavours.
From Russia, with love.
Motorama – Ghost