I have a humdinger of a recipe for you today. In fact, I’m going to share the secret to making the perfect country ribs. The secret consists of a surprisingly simple set of techniques that you’re probably quite familiar with; but happens to yield the most moist, juicy, flavorful, fall of the bone tender, country ribs you have ever had. Can you guess where I’m going with this? It’s ok, I’m not going to keep you sitting in suspense. Just a little drum roll please. Come on, humor me!
The trick: first you give those ribs a sear and then you finish em’ low & slow in the oven. Of course, you’ve got to seal the ribs in with some liquid, which happens to be known as braising. You’ll be rewarded with meat so tender it will fall apart from the touch of a fork. See, I’m betting you probably know those two techniques right? I use them all the time, it’s just that I never thought about applying these techniques specifically to country ribs.
In the past I’ve had country ribs barbecued, and that’s about it. I generally like bbq (ok, I luv bbq: brisket, brisket, brisket, please), but have never really liked bbq country ribs. I know a lot of people do. I’m just weird that way I guess. Country ribs tend to be on the fatty side, so they really are suited to bbq. But, I just never found them to be appealing. However, my husband, Dad, and Grandparents (who have been in town visiting) are pretty big rib fans, so I thought I should give them another try. Unfortunately, my bbq was broken last summer, so I actually couldn’t go the traditional route of grilling anyway.
My Grandmother suggested putting the ribs in the oven, which is how she cooks them all the time at home. I thought it was worth a try, after all I do tend to have really good luck with oven cooked meats. I decided I needed to add one lithe step, giving those ribs a quick sear before tucking them into the oven, which my Grandmother doesn’t usually do. But I knew it would be worth the extra trouble. In my experience, there isn’t a piece of meat that can’t benefit from a good sear before hitting the oven. Gotta love that Maillard reaction! So that was my plan. Little did I know I had stumbled on the secret to perfect country ribs.
I followed the plan exactly. First, I seasoned the ribs and then gave them a good sear. Next, I placed them in a casserole dish, added chicken broth so the ribs were about halfway submerged, and covered the dish tightly with tin foil. I put the whole thing in the oven at 350* and more or less ignored the ribs for the next 8 hours. Before not to long you could smell that meaty roasting scent, that makes you super hungry, all over the house. People around the house began to quiz me on when they could possibly get a piece of whatever it was in the oven that smelled so good. When dinner came around the ribs were in fact absolutely amazing; and as I noted, I’m not usually a fan of country ribs. My entire (rather large) pan disappeared in one sitting. Bingo! We have a winner.
Of course, over the next few weeks I repeated the process a several times to refine the recipe. I tested different oven cook times, (I find the minimum for truly tender ribs is four hours.) different seasonings, and more, so I can be confident I have the very best recipe to share with you.
The other thing I want to point out about this recipe: while it takes time in the oven, it’s really really easy. It takes ten to fifteen minutes to sear the ribs on the stove top. It takes no more then a moment to transfer the ribs to an oven safe pan (Or you can cook them in a stove-to-oven safe pan in the first place.), add broth, and seal it up. Then you pop them in the oven for 4-8 hours and you can more or less walk away and ignore them while they cook; becoming more and more tender by the hour. Actually incredibly simple right? You can go clean the bathroom, paint your nails, read, play with the kids, or watch entirely too much TV, whatever makes you happy. Though at some point in there you should probably spare a few of those free time minutes to make today’s bonus recipe: skillet green chili and cheddar cornbread. It’s a perfect accompaniment to the ribs, and also happens to be quick and easy. (That way you can get back to your TV binge watching quickly!) This cornbread is soft and moist, has plenty of corn flavor, but the green chilies and cheddar really make it unique and add a bit of ‘pop’.
Ribs, cornbread, just add your favorite veggies (green beans!) and you have a complete meal. Enjoy a lazy Saturday around the house (read: in front of the tube) and then sit down to a perfect dinner.
- 2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 2 teaspoons powdered garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- 1and 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 10 country style pork ribs
- 1 splash + 1 cup chicken broth
- additional broth as needed
- 1. In a small bowl mix together all seasoning. Sprinkle the seasoning mix evenly over the country ribs. Flip to coat each side.
- 2. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the ribs to the pan allowing them to sear. You may need to sear the ribs in batches. Flip to sear each side. The ribs should be a golden to dark brown, even small black patches are ok. Transfer cooked ribs to ann oven safe baking dish.
- 3. Add a splash of chicken broth to the skillet to deglaze. Pour the liquid from the skillet into the baking pan. Add the the cup of chicken broth to the baking dish. The liquid in the pan should cover the ribs about half way. Add additional broth or water if needed.
- 4. Using tin foil seal the baking dish very tightly. Place in the baking dish in the oven. Cook the ribs at 350* for 4-8 hours.
- If intending to cook the ribs for the full 8 hours: At the four hour mark check the pan and see if additional liquid is needed to keep the ribs halfway submerged in liquid. Add more broth if needed. However, by the end of the cooking time the amount of liquid left in the pan should be significantly reduced.
- 6. Serve hot, drizzled with the au jus from the pan.
- Four hours cook time will yield a fairly tender rib, however additional cook time up to 8 hours will tenderize the meat even more.
- 6 tablespoons salted butter softened
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 and 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1 and 12/ cups water
- 1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 7 oz. can diced green chilies
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Prepare a cast iron skillet by greasing lightly.
- 2. Add the butter, sugar, and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until well combined.
- 3. In a second bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and garlic powder using a spoon.
- 4. Add the flour mixture and cornmeal to the stand mixer's bowl. Add the water and mix well. Stop the mixer at least once to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- 5. Add the corn kernels, sharp cheddar, and green chilies to the bowl and mix gently.
- 6. Pour batter into prepared skillet and bake at 350* for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the surface of the bread is lightly browned. Cool for ten minutes before cutting.