Sunday, March 22, 2009

MEAT me in St. Louis

Other than braising short ribs, I admit I was always scared of making ribs at home. From the way I saw it, I had three strikes against me:

Strike 1: I do not own a smoker (Trade-off for living in the city with no back yard)
Strike 2: I do not own a grill (See above trade-off)
Strike 3: Raised in Massachusetts, I am a card-carrying Yankee (Not to be confused of course with a NY Yankees fan!)

In the grocery store on Saturday I saw hickory smoking bags that were meant for the oven. Right next to them was a case with thick St. Louis style ribs. It was enough to give me a confidence boost. I started thinking - maybe a Charlestown Yankee can make ribs??? Fortunately, Mr. Charlestown Culinary, who thinks with his stomach, was quick to add the extra encouragement I needed.
I started my ribs adventure by trimming off the excess fat and pulling the membrane off of the backside of the ribs. Thanks to some hints from youtube, this was fairly simple. I then rubbed the ribs with a dry rub that I made out of a combination of sea salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic powder, celery seed, paprika, onion powder and brown sugar.
After bringing the ribs to room temperature, I placed them in the smoking bag and closed it tightly. I put the bag on a baking sheet in a 450°F oven for 15 minutes. I then turned the oven down to 200°F and cooked the ribs for an additional 4 hours.
As a dinner insurance policy, while the ribs were slow-cooking, I mixed up my recipes for buttermilk cornbread and mashed potatoes. Both are favorites of Mr. Charlestown Culinary, and could have easily been turned into his full meal (in case the ribs didn't turn out edible). Once the cornbread was done baking, I basted the ribs in a chipotle pepper honey sauce that I made earlier in the day. I then finished the ribs under the broiler for 6 minutes per side. The results? The ribs were so tender, the meat fell off the bone. They had a subtle smokiness from the hickory, spiciness from the rub and sweetness from the sauce. To quote Mr. Charlestown Culinary, 'These are the best ribs I have ever had'.


  1. They sure do look good.....

  2. Those ribs do look amazing! And the smoking bags seem like a great idea.

  3. Those ribs do look amazing! And the smoking bags seem like a great idea.

  4. Thanks for the compliments! They tasted as great as they look -- the one slight 'issue' is that the kitchen still smells slightly like hickory. That wouldn't stop me from making these again though...