Sticky Balsamic Ribs

This week, regrettably, I do not have a new recipe of my own to share. Life got a bit busier with Christmas preparations and while I did my usual cooking there was nothing extraordinary involved. I did, however, make some pretty damn good chili, but in an effort to not be known as the skinny lady (I was called this yesterday) who only cooks chili or soup, that recipe will not be shared – for now! 😉

Instead, I decided to share a recipe I tried out this past summer called “Sticky Balsamic Ribs”. It’s a tried and true recipe by former Gourmet Magazine food editor, Ian Knauer; I believe it was first published back in July of 2009. Now, I know there are plenty of hard-core rib enthusiasts out there who believe in smokers and grilling and BBQ and all of that – but let me tell you, these sticky baby backs are ridiculously tasty and addictive. They will totally make you think twice about being a rib purist and they are easy to make year round.

To be fair, I am not the biggest fan of ribs in general, but that’s really just because I don’t like to get messy. If I could get someone to take the meat off the bone for me, I would, but nobody ever seems to want to do that. So, the true test for these bad boys was to get my husband to like them (he cares a great deal for BBQ ribs). Even though he was so, so, so full of doubt, after his first rib, he was sold. Trust me and trust him, these ribs are great.

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Grocery List

Serves 4 – Recipe adapted (and halved) from Ian Knauer of Gourmet Magazine

For the ribs

  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • ½ tablespoon + ½ teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds baby back pork ribs
  • ½ cup water

For the glaze

  • 1 cups hot water
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

How To

First, prep the ribs at least 8 hours in advance. 24 hours is preferable. Create a paste by mincing and mashing the garlic with ½ teaspoon of salt. Combine the paste with the rosemary, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne, remaining ½ tablespoon of salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture over ribs and transfer them to a roasting pan, meaty side up. Cover the roasting pan in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 8 to 24 hours.

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After the ribs have successfully chilled in the marinade, preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack placed precisely in the middle.

Pour ¼ cup water into the roasting pan and tightly cover it with foil. Roast the ribs until meat is very tender, this takes roughly 1 ¾ hours. Next, remove the pan from the oven and transfer the ribs to a platter.

With the ribs set aside, add ½ cup hot water to the roasting pan and scrape up brown bits. Skim off and discard the fat, and then transfer the remaining liquid to a 10-inch skillet. Add in the vinegar and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil until thick and syrupy and reduced to about ½ cup, about 8-10 minutes.

Next Steps

If you have a grill:

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).

Brush some of glaze onto both sides of racks of ribs. Grill, turning occasionally, until ribs are hot and grill marks appear, about 6 minutes. Brush ribs with more glaze and serve remaining glaze on the side.

If you don’t have a grill:

Preheat the oven broiler on high.

Brush some of glaze onto both sides of racks of ribs. Put the ribs on a broiler pan and place in the oven until they are hot and begin to bubble a bit, about 6 minutes. Brush ribs with more glaze and serve remaining glaze on the side.

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