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At home with Sophia: American style ribs

By Sophia Carlini - 24 January 2016 45

Every now and then, I get the biggest craving for a rack of American style ribs; unfortunately, I haven’t found any good ribs places in Canberra. The places I have tried have been disappointing, with sickly sweet marinades and anorexic cows; there’s nothing worse then paying a bucket load for ribs and getting the tiniest bit of meat.

As I was walking past the butcher in the Canberra Centre, I noticed massive beef ribs in their display. I bought 6 ribs and 2 pieces of steak (for another night’s dinner); it cost me almost $70! I could not believe it. I was almost tempted to tell the butcher not to worry about it, but I felt bad that he had already packed it all up. All I could do was hope that the were going to be the most delicious ribs there ever was.

I looked for a marinade recipe and came across one from Taste.com which I have adapted.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (a small bottle of bourbon is almost $30 — I would recommend borrowing a cup from a bourbon drinker!)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5kg pork or beef ribs
  • Lime wedges, to serve

Method:

Combine the tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, bourbon, sugar, paprika and garlic in a baking dish. Add ribs and coat in marinade.

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Cover and marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. Remove ribs from the fridge 1 hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 1.5-2 hours. I actually left my on for 4 hours because I had the time and wanted the meat to be really tender.

Once tender, you can either turn the heat up to 200 degrees and caramelise in the over for approximately 10 minutes or, you can chuck them on the BBQ for a couple of minutes. I went for the BBQ option. Tip: to get extra flavour and to use all of the marinade, baste the ribs whilst on the BBQ with the sauce from the bottom of the baking dish.

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I felt like a salad would go perfectly with these ribs and would cut through the heaviness nicely, so I adapted my favourite salad recipe, and by adapted, I mean that I didn’t have any cabbage left in my fridge.

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The flavour was so good and Mike (my fiancé, for readers new to the series) loved them!

A tip to save yourself money: 6 was two too many for two people, and unfortunately they just don’t make for very good left overs.

What’s Your opinion?


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45 Responses to
At home with Sophia: American style ribs
rubaiyat 9:26 am 29 Jan 16

Jordania said :

The truly frightening thing about this article is not the recipe or the ingredients (chacun a son gout and all that) but the fact that the meat cost the author nearly $70. I’ve been outside Australia for almost five years (living in an EU country, so cost of living not particularly cheap) and I am beyond aghast at the cost of meat here. What’s the explanation? Undersupply? Exorbitant production costs? Basic greed? The other thing that has given me a near infarction is the cost of eating in restaurants here. Asian restaurant near where I work: lemongrass chicken breast for $22! What sort of chicken would that have come from? Must be a miraculous one; even now it’s dead it’s laying golden eggs for the restaurateur. A couple of very ordinary meals in Braddon restaurants: close to $200 for two. I don’t mind paying well for really good food but I have found only one restaurant so far where the high cost was justified by the calibre of the food, cooking, presentation and service. I guess I’m so shocked by this because I’ve been away for a while and haven’t had the chance to absorb what must have been a gradual, albeit steep, rise in costs and prices. Please feel free to suggest some decent eating places (not dives) with good food and service where I can eat and enjoy without suffering severe wallet shock when I’m finished.

How much do you expect to pay and what do you expect to get?

Canberra is more expensive than most of the other large cities in Australia, but there are good places to eat now.

How do you compare the costs here to say Europe? I hope you are not comparing A$1 with €1 which is currently A$1.55.

I’ve noticed how people have very simplistic notions of real exchange rates and prices when travelling.

My wife for example favorably compared the price of fruit in the USA with Australia, ignoring:

1. The quality (awful)
2. The price was US$ and therefore 1.4x the A$
3. That the price was per pound not kilo
4. The string of taxes often charged at the checkout

Net result? The US produce was 3x as expensive as the Australian but because my wife is maths averse, like most people, she guessed and fudged to come up with a very inaccurate conclusion.

btw Something I noticed was the exorbitant price of fresh fruit compared to the much subsidised junk food in the States. You could get a cheese burger for less than a single apple in roadside “restaurants”.

No_Nose 9:30 pm 28 Jan 16

Jordania said :

The truly frightening thing about this article is not the recipe or the ingredients (chacun a son gout and all that) but the fact that the meat cost the author nearly $70. .

Ok, you have to remember that the original poster did, by her own admission, buy far too many ribs. Probably enough for two person for two meals…and also some steaks for another dinner. So $70 for 2 persons for 3 dinners is a bit more reasonable.

Jordania said :

A couple of very ordinary meals in Braddon restaurants: close to $200 for two. I don’t mind paying well for really good food but I have found only one restaurant so far where the high cost was justified by the calibre of the food, cooking, presentation and service. .

I agree with your there. I am more than happy to pay $200 for a good meal with good service and ambiance…and that is without another hundred or two on wine. I have paid this in Canberra previously, but have been disappointed. For what we can get for the same price in Melbourne, Sydney or even Brisbane, there is no comparison.

I can’t afford (nor do I want) this every week, but four or five times a year, when I spend that type of money on a restaurant, I do want it to be something worthwhile..and Canberra just does not cut it.

gazket 5:32 pm 28 Jan 16

Jordania said :

The truly frightening thing about this article is not the recipe or the ingredients (chacun a son gout and all that) but the fact that the meat cost the author nearly $70must . Please feel free to suggest some decent eating places (not dives) with good food and service where I can eat and enjoy without suffering severe wallet shock when I’m finished.

Kingston Foreshores – Egg and bacon roll, 1 can of coke = $18

Mysteryman 4:52 pm 28 Jan 16

Jordania said :

The truly frightening thing about this article is not the recipe or the ingredients (chacun a son gout and all that) but the fact that the meat cost the author nearly $70. I’ve been outside Australia for almost five years (living in an EU country, so cost of living not particularly cheap) and I am beyond aghast at the cost of meat here. What’s the explanation? Undersupply? Exorbitant production costs? Basic greed? The other thing that has given me a near infarction is the cost of eating in restaurants here. Asian restaurant near where I work: lemongrass chicken breast for $22! What sort of chicken would that have come from? Must be a miraculous one; even now it’s dead it’s laying golden eggs for the restaurateur. A couple of very ordinary meals in Braddon restaurants: close to $200 for two. I don’t mind paying well for really good food but I have found only one restaurant so far where the high cost was justified by the calibre of the food, cooking, presentation and service. I guess I’m so shocked by this because I’ve been away for a while and haven’t had the chance to absorb what must have been a gradual, albeit steep, rise in costs and prices. Please feel free to suggest some decent eating places (not dives) with good food and service where I can eat and enjoy without suffering severe wallet shock when I’m finished.

I read an interview with a French chef once. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) “Australia is a great place, but your restaurants aren’t good. They are expensive and the food isn’t good. But Australians deserve it because they are too afraid to complain when a meal is not up to standard. They get what they deserve”.

And he was right. I’ve lost count of the number of places I’ve had highly recommended to me that served overpriced, below standard food. And these places are popular in Canberra! I don’t quite understand it.

Jordania 3:20 pm 28 Jan 16

The truly frightening thing about this article is not the recipe or the ingredients (chacun a son gout and all that) but the fact that the meat cost the author nearly $70. I’ve been outside Australia for almost five years (living in an EU country, so cost of living not particularly cheap) and I am beyond aghast at the cost of meat here. What’s the explanation? Undersupply? Exorbitant production costs? Basic greed? The other thing that has given me a near infarction is the cost of eating in restaurants here. Asian restaurant near where I work: lemongrass chicken breast for $22! What sort of chicken would that have come from? Must be a miraculous one; even now it’s dead it’s laying golden eggs for the restaurateur. A couple of very ordinary meals in Braddon restaurants: close to $200 for two. I don’t mind paying well for really good food but I have found only one restaurant so far where the high cost was justified by the calibre of the food, cooking, presentation and service. I guess I’m so shocked by this because I’ve been away for a while and haven’t had the chance to absorb what must have been a gradual, albeit steep, rise in costs and prices. Please feel free to suggest some decent eating places (not dives) with good food and service where I can eat and enjoy without suffering severe wallet shock when I’m finished.

madelini 10:53 am 28 Jan 16

fabforty said :

madelini said :

John Moulis said :

I get a bit upset that whenever anybody mentions ribs they immediately think of this type of unhealthy presentation with brown sugar, tomato and barbecue sauce (which are full of sugar as well) and – God give me strength – Bourbon. Ribs don’t have to be unhealthy and fattening at all. Instead of pouring this type of junk over them, simply sprinkle ground pepper and lemon pepper seasoning on them, squeeze some lemon on them, spray canola oil on them then cook in convection oven for 25 minutes, turn them over then cook a further 15 minutes. Forget the Americans and their heart attack grills.

If the article was asking for suggestions as to the best way to cook and eat ribs, I would understand your comment more. In the first line, Sophia says “…I get the biggest craving for American style ribs”. No one is forcing you to cook or eat them in the American style, or suggesting that eating them in this way should be an every day event.

No, they are not. This is, however, a discussion forum. People can discuss things here.

Perhaps we can find a way to discuss the relentless negativity when it comes to food posts on this website.

Raging Tempest 5:54 pm 26 Jan 16

I didn’t find the ribs at the place at Erindale sweet or lacking meat but to each their palate. My American friend does them with a dry rub in a slow cooker then brushes them lightly with bbq sauce and chili before serving.

fabforty 9:17 am 26 Jan 16

madelini said :

John Moulis said :

I get a bit upset that whenever anybody mentions ribs they immediately think of this type of unhealthy presentation with brown sugar, tomato and barbecue sauce (which are full of sugar as well) and – God give me strength – Bourbon. Ribs don’t have to be unhealthy and fattening at all. Instead of pouring this type of junk over them, simply sprinkle ground pepper and lemon pepper seasoning on them, squeeze some lemon on them, spray canola oil on them then cook in convection oven for 25 minutes, turn them over then cook a further 15 minutes. Forget the Americans and their heart attack grills.

If the article was asking for suggestions as to the best way to cook and eat ribs, I would understand your comment more. In the first line, Sophia says “…I get the biggest craving for American style ribs”. No one is forcing you to cook or eat them in the American style, or suggesting that eating them in this way should be an every day event.

No, they are not. This is, however, a discussion forum. People can discuss things here.

MERC600 3:32 pm 25 Jan 16

Thanks Sophia. Will give that a whirl.

Mess 12:48 pm 25 Jan 16

Sophia, have your tried the ribs at Smoque? Authentic American style ribs.

madelini 12:45 pm 25 Jan 16

John Moulis said :

I get a bit upset that whenever anybody mentions ribs they immediately think of this type of unhealthy presentation with brown sugar, tomato and barbecue sauce (which are full of sugar as well) and – God give me strength – Bourbon. Ribs don’t have to be unhealthy and fattening at all. Instead of pouring this type of junk over them, simply sprinkle ground pepper and lemon pepper seasoning on them, squeeze some lemon on them, spray canola oil on them then cook in convection oven for 25 minutes, turn them over then cook a further 15 minutes. Forget the Americans and their heart attack grills.

If the article was asking for suggestions as to the best way to cook and eat ribs, I would understand your comment more. In the first line, Sophia says “…I get the biggest craving for American style ribs”. No one is forcing you to cook or eat them in the American style, or suggesting that eating them in this way should be an every day event.

rosscoact 11:34 am 25 Jan 16

You’re right John, the American stuff changes something inherently unhealthy into the opposite. They will add honey and butter too, just because it’s not sweet or fatty enough. However, notwithstanding the coronary overload and their inability to leave well-enough alone, there are good reasons behind the design of their flavourings.

In my opinion, the Australian palate is much more attuned to South East Asian flavourings, lime juice, lemongrass, birdseye chilli, palm sugar, soy, kepak manis, fish sauce, szechuan and white pepper, ginger, coriander seed and root, rice wine and vinegar, galangal, tumeric, etc.

Using the same techniques as the Americans but with the ban asian ingredients gives a wonderful but lighter outcome

fabforty 9:43 am 25 Jan 16

Thanks John. I’ll try that.

I always feel slightly ill when I see what Americans do to some food.

Ezy 8:39 am 25 Jan 16

For the true american style – these will benefit being cooked over charcoal. A little tip for those that don’t have access to a smoker or a weber. Get some smoking wood chips (bunnings will have some or if you are feeling adventurous, get some native wood) – soak them for about 30 minutes and put them on a square of aluminium foil – wrap it up like a little pocket, poke some holes in it with a fork at the top of the pocket then throw it in the bbq when you are pre heating. By about 15 minutes you should have some smoke. Chuck your meat on, cover and you should have that nice kiss of smoke by the time the meat has been cooked.

Another thing with ribs is they will have a membrane on the side that doesn’t have the bulk of the meat. If you leave this on you will end up with a chewy layer. Ask your butcher to take this off for you, or you can peel it off yourself prior to cutting up the ribs into serving sizes (before cooking).

Try a coffee rub next time for something a little less sweet.

John Moulis 12:00 pm 24 Jan 16

I get a bit upset that whenever anybody mentions ribs they immediately think of this type of unhealthy presentation with brown sugar, tomato and barbecue sauce (which are full of sugar as well) and – God give me strength – Bourbon. Ribs don’t have to be unhealthy and fattening at all. Instead of pouring this type of junk over them, simply sprinkle ground pepper and lemon pepper seasoning on them, squeeze some lemon on them, spray canola oil on them then cook in convection oven for 25 minutes, turn them over then cook a further 15 minutes. Forget the Americans and their heart attack grills.

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