The Fourth of July brings out the best in our small town. We celebrate Independence Day by getting together with our neighbors, family and friends. The celebrations begin in the morning with a 5k/10k run. There’s a parade at mid-day and an early evening picnic, and the day concludes with fireworks at the high school.
To prepare for the picnic, we get the ribs ready the day before. On the 4th, we spend the day cooking for the pot-luck picnic we organize with a dozen of our friends. Even though the picnic is pot-luck, we make extra just in case.
The fireworks show at the end of the day may be the best ending. But the day wouldn’t be complete without these deliciously fatty, sweet pork ribs.
David Latt is an Emmy-award winning TV producer who cooks to alleviate stress. This ran in the online magazine www.oneforthetable.com.
Brown Sugar Pork Ribs
1 rack of pork spare ribs
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound light brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 small yellow onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
6 ounces Italian tomato paste
Trim excess fat, the membrane, and flap from the ribs. You can reserve the flap, trimmed of its membrane, to grill for tacos.
Spread a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, 5 inches longer than the rack. Dust the meat side of the ribs with the cayenne. Mix together the brown sugar and kosher salt. Spread half the dry mix on the plastic wrap. Lay the ribs on top, then cover with the rest of the dry mix. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap, seal, fold in half and place into a gallon-size resealable bag. Place in a pan to catch any juices and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning remove the ribs. The dry mix will have transformed into a slurry, a semiliquid mixture. In a sauce pan saute the onions and garlic with olive oil until lightly browned, season with pepper. Remove the ribs from the plastic bag. Use a rubber spatula to remove most of the liquid from the ribs and plastic bag and transfer to the sauce pan. Add the tomato paste and simmer the sauce on low for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavor if necessary.
Line a large baking tray with tin foil. Place a wire rack on top of the baking tray, then lay the ribs on the rack. The ribs can either be cooked in a 350-degree oven or on the “cold” side of a covered grill with the heat on high. Cook the ribs 30 minutes on each side, then baste with the sauce for 30 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from the oven, cut apart the individual ribs, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.