The Perfect Weekend Braised-and-Grilled Ribs Recipe

This is slow-cooking. So you might want to start soon.

[slideshow id = 78] Sometimes, the challenge of frozen protein in your fridge is unavoidable, which was actually what prompted me to look for ways to quickly fix said challenge. Ironically, what ended up happening is that I realized, you can't mess with frozen protein. You rush cooking it, and you either get something raw or something rubbery. So, I figured, patience really is key. In this case, we have a rack of pork ribs, and I began to wonder what the best way to cook them was. Even after a defrost, sometimes you may still get tough protein, and that is where the braising idea came to me. (All in, the best way to cook protein is after you just came home from the butcher.) Braising in itself can be really awesome, which is why I left half of the rack braising overnight, and the meat ended up really tender and falling off the bone. But, in this scenario, we take a look at how to tenderize and pack in flavor to these pork ribs before you hit the grill (or grill pan) to get a nice charred, smoky flavor.   INGREDIENTS:
  • A half or full rack of ribs (pork or beef)
  • 1 cup of chicken/beef/vegetable stock
  • 3 cups of water
  • splash of vinegar
  • splash of balsamic vinegar (for color)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 spoonfuls of chili pepper / paprika (you can add more or less)
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 oranges, zested (Separate zest in three batches)
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 a clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • black pepper to taste - optional
  • Root beer or cola - optional (1 1/2 cups)
  • Start with the braising liquid. In a big cauldron or pot, add the water and get it to a low simmer.
  • Add paprika, brown sugar, bay leaves, garlic and onion, and mix until the garlic and onion soften up.
  • Then, add the vinegar, balsamic, soy, stock and pepper.
  • In about 15-20 minutes after you had the water simmering, you'll have your braising liquid ready to go. It's gonna smell really nice.
  • Slice up your ribs in single pieces. Try to cut along a side of the bone so as to keep the meaty parts intact, instead of slicing through the protein itself.
  • Add your protein. (The ribs) Make sure each piece is submerged. If the ribs won't fit in your pot, you may need to have two pots going. You can do either that, or just split the ribs in batches.
  • Slice your oranges in half, squeeze the juice over the ribs, and then throw the rind in. It adds a great aeromatic to your braise.
  • A great addition, but optional, is to add some sort of cola or root beer. You can even add orange soda to enhance the orange flavor. The acid of the cola tenderizes your braise, and you can actually let this go for between an hour or two on very low heat.
  • After approximately an hour, check your ribs. You don't want them too soft, because we're adding a layer of texture by putting it on the grill.
  • Pull them off when they're soft, but still intact. (If you want to keep going with the braise, which is what I did with the second batch of ribs, you can do so. As an Asian, I enjoy eating that braised meat over some rice, with the braising liquid as a broth. It's pretty dope.)
For the grill: (NOTE: If you don't feel like grilling, you can also just put them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 300 degrees. But you won't get that same char from grilling them.)
First, we start with a glaze. As you may see in the above gallery, there is a bowl there with a brush. It's a basting liquid for your ribs when you start grilling.
It's pretty easy. In a bowl, mix in some soy or terriyaki sauce, a couple of generous pinches of brown sugar (or you can use honey), red chili flakes (tbsp), and some of the zest from the orange if you still have some. Mix in the bowl, and lightly paint/coat your ribs.
  • I have a grill pan, so it's a very controlled atmosphere. Brush the pan with some vegetable oil or melted butter, and have your flame on medium - medium low.
  • Place your ribs face down on a slant for grill marks. Since the ribs are already cooked, we're just looking for color now.
  • Once you see the glaze caramelizing, you can flip. It takes approx. 2 minutes per side.
And, voilà! This is what it would look like: BONUS!!! - A brownie recipe I hope you still had some of that orange zest saved. You'll need that along with these:
  • 1/3 cup of almonds (or a handful)
  • 1/2 stick f butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate
  • *optional - 2 ounces of powdered Nesquik
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large chicken egg
  • 1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (white chocolate will do, too)
  • Start with the almonds. Crush them, and then quickly saute in a pan with the butter.
  • In a mixing bowl, add in all your dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, Nesquik, brown sugar
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a 9 x 9 baking pan/Pyrex (or 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pan) with a thin layer of butter. This prevents the batter from sticking and/or burning, and it helps add flavor to the crust that will form.
  • Mix in your egg and a splash of water with your dry mix, and then add the almonds and chocolate pieces.
  • Spread onto pan, and then put in the oven for 25 mins. to a half hour.
Happy weekend, everybody!