Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Friday, April 8, 2011

BBQ Ribs (okay, BBQ sauce FOR BBQ ribs)

I had a craving for some slow-cooked ribs the other night.  And as usually happens when I have a craving, I give in.  I usually make up a bbq sauce on the spot, but this time I went hunting for one.  I found a really interesting one by Tyler Florence - and when I say "really interesting" I mean it's not spicy at all.  Unusual for me - but a happy moment for my husband.

I followed Tyler's suggestion about bought 2 slabs of baby back ribs.  To be honest, I'm much more of a country-style rib guy.  They're just so much more meaty.  So while I loved the sauce, next time it will be with some heftier ribs.  The baby back were good, but got a little overdone in my opinion.

When I hunker down for some ribs, I usually pull out my big baking dish and line the bottom with sliced onions (for some additional flavor).  250 degree oven, cook for a period of time first with nothing but salt, pepper and olive oil on the meat (sometimes a dry rub is good too).  And then I begin basting so that the sauce cooks in and seals the meat, as well as forms a lovely coating/crust.  So while I didn't follow my gut on this one, I will next time.  However one thing Tyler suggested that I loved:  when the ribs are done, give them one more baste with the sauce and throw them under the broiler for just a few minutes.  It gives the crusty & sauce a really nice texture.

Don't get me wrong, the ribs were fantastic.  My husband couldn't stop telling me how delicious they were.  And they were complimented quite well with a big pile of cheddar mashed potatoes.  But I's the sauce, courtesy of Tyler Florence (okay, the version I made based on his recipe).

3 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
2 bacon slices
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 large-ish spring onions - 2 cut in half, 1 chopped (or 1 large onion, cut into quarters - chop 1/4)
3 smashed garlic cloves
2 cups ketchup
1 cup peach preserves
2 Tbl. Dijon mustard
2 Tbl. brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbl. Zinfandel vinegar (red or white wine works just fine)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground paprika
Kitchen twine

Wrap the bacon around the middle of the thyme (make sure there is plenty of thyme sticking out on both sides) and tie with kitchen twine.  Heat the olive up in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the bacon/thyme bundle and let it cook for 4-5 minutes.  You get some great flavor from the bacon & thyme, and wrapping them together makes it easy to remove them later.  Add the large chunks of onion and whole garlic cloves, cook for about 5-6 minutes.  Stir in the ketchup, peach preserves, mustard, sugar, molasses, vinegar, cumin and paprika.  Turn the heat down and let the mixture cook for 20 minutes or so in order to bring all of the flavors together.  I used a splatter guard - just FYI.  Pull out the bacon/thyme package and the onions & garlic before using.  If you're going to baste meat with the sauce, remember to separate some out in case you want to serve it with the dish later.


  1. Hi Chris, it's Barb, again. We love ribs and this sauce sounds fabulous, although we usually like ours a little spicy too. I'm afraid I could just stand at the stove and keep tasting this until there was nothing left to put on the ribs! I do have a question. Do I really need to cook the bacon and thyme in the olive oil? I've seen this done before and never understood why. Won't I get enough oil(FAT,CALORIES)with just the bacon? Although, I guess if I'm going to eat ribs, what's a few tablespoons of olive oil!?

  2. I thought the same thing, Barb. But the purpose of the bacon is less about the rendered fat and more about the smokey, meat flavor that it imparts into the dish. The thyme on the other hand gets lost in the bold flavors of the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, etc. I honestly can't say that it was a flavor I found in the dish - but I love the idea of it, so next time I'll do a bundle of time by itself, and a balled bundle of bacon.