Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maple-Roasted Pork Spareribs

Ribs are one of my favorite foods in the world, but I've never attempted them at home, primarily because of the amount of time they take to cook, making them impossible for dinner on a weeknight. I've had a beautiful rack of Berkshire pork spareribs from Willow Creek Farm in my freezer for quite some time, and when I saw the evening Packer game on the schedule (allowing ample time for the ribs to cook), I knew it was time to finally tackle this long-postponed project. Willow Creek pork is some of the highest quality you can buy, so I knew I wouldn't do them justice with just a basting of grocery store barbecue sauce. When I found this recipe from one of my favorite recipe sources, Food and Wine, that included maple syrup (one my favorite flavors), I knew I had found a sauce worthy of this exemplary pork. While this pork would be delectable even on its own, the glaze hits all the elements of good sauce-smoky, sweet, acidic, and spicy, blending beautifully with the savory, juicy pork. The irresistable aroma will taunt you from the oven for hours, but the wait is all worth it when you sink your teeth into these sticky, delicious, fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs. If you've got the time and want to do game-day food right, honor your team by whipping up a batch of these spare ribs, grab a roll of paper towels, and dig in!

Maple-Roasted Pork Spareribs
from Food and Wine
serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup pure maple syrup 
1/4 cup tomato sauce 
1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
2 tablespoons light brown sugar 
1 tablespoon minced garlic 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
Two 3-pound racks pork spareribs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a saucepan, combine the maple syrup, tomato sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, set each rack of ribs on a large rimmed baking sheet, meaty side up, and season all over with salt and pepper. Roast the ribs for 30 minutes, shifting the pans from top to bottom halfway through cooking.

3. Brush the ribs with some of the sauce and roast for about 1 1/2 hours longer, brushing with the sauce every 15 minutes and shifting the pans occasionally. If the pan juices begin to burn, add a few tablespoons of water to the pans and scrape up any caramelized drippings; baste the ribs with the drippings. Remove from the oven.

4. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat source. Put both racks of ribs on 1 baking sheet, meaty side down, and brush with the sauce. Broil the ribs for 2 to 3 minutes, until glazed and lightly crusty. Turn the ribs, brush with any remaining sauce and broil for about 3 minutes, or until glazed and crusty; transfer to a work surface. Cut in between the bones, mound the ribs on a platter and serve.

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