During BBQ season, I like to experiment with many different kinds of protein. In our summer kitchen, I tend to prepare more of the white meats and fish of course, with the addition of an occasional really good cut of steak and leave beef and pork stews and roasts for the colder months. Did you know that pork is actually considered a white meat? One of my three guys' favourite BBQ'd meats are pork ribs. I am always looking for ways to reduce fat and keep our meals as healthy as possible. As baby back ribs are pretty fatty, I discovered that if you boil them first to remove much of the fat, you end up with a much more tender and lean rib you can then toss into your favourite BBQ sauce and finish on the BBQ or in the oven. The key here is to boil them in a beautifully seasoned brine to impart all that wonderful flavour directly into the meat, so when you sink your teeth into those tender ribs, you are in BBQ heaven!
If you can get your hands on some free range/non medicated pork, I promise you that you will never go back to the conventional - it has so much more flavour, is more tender and of course is far healthier than the pork raised on meds in tight pens...
Last night I prepared my favourite rib recipe, one that I came up with once on a whim, when I rummaged through the fridge to find a cacophony of ready made sauces and raided my spice cupboard to bring together a pot of heaven to boil those beautiful baby back ribs in. I call this recipe my Killer Kitchen Sink Ribs, because, the brine has everything in it but the kitchen sink and well, its just 'killer'!
Okay, this recipe may seem a bit out of character for me as you know that I am all about sticking to healthy, real food...I will forewarn you - some of the ingredients I have used here are processed and I always try and avoid processed wherever possible, but in my opinion, if the majority of your diet consists of mainly unprocessed foods, then having something processed every now and again is not going to make you ill. Besides, once you taste these ribs, you won't even think about all the 'stuff' that's in them - kidding aside, if you read the ingredients on the back of most of the 'stuff' in my brine, its not all that sad a story anyway - there are far worse things in food that we don't even know about...
Here goes...did I say these are 'killer'...?
What you will need
The Brine (enough for 4 lbs baby back ribs, or 4 racks)
4 lbs baby back ribs
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
4 dashes Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup Thai Red Chilli Sauce
1/4 cup Bragg's or low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 canned beer
1 Tbsp Cajun Spice
1 Tbsp steak spice
4 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs
2 Tbsp brown sugar
4 cups water
Steak seasoning (like Montreal Steak Spice or Keg Steak Spice)
Your favourite BBQ sauce
How its done
- Rinse and dry the rib racks and cut into halves or thirds, set aside. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large stock pot, except the beer - have a swig of the beer then add the rest of it to the pot, whisking to mix well. Add ribs and arrange so they are covered by the liquid. Heat pot over high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low and keep ribs at a gentle boil for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat begins to fall off the bone.
- Drain ribs and place on baking sheet. Season with steak seasoning; cover with foil until ready to BBQ or bake in oven (ribs can be refrigerated and stored in the fridge over night).
- When ready to BBQ, slather ribs in your favourite BBQ sauce and heat on a medium grill until the meat begins to caramelize and shows some nice grill marks. Ribs can also be finished off in a 350°F oven for about 20-25 minutes. Serves 4.
What you will need
The Edamame Succotash
2 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups frozen edamame beans, thawed
3 cups frozen peaches and cream corn, thawed
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large orange pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2-3 mini zucchini, cut into slices or 1 small zucchini, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
How its done
- Heat EVOO in large skillet over medium high heat; add onions and garlic and cook just until onions are transparent; add peppers and continue to cook until they begin to soften; add edamame beans, corn and zucchini, toss well and cook another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice; sprinkle with fresh basil. Serves 4-6