This Little Piggy
This Little Piggy
February 12, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Parenting the second time around is an interesting experiment. I played it safe with my older daughter. Devoured and dutifully put to use everything the magazines said I should do. It wasn’t until my second child five years later, that I realized people have been doing this for thousands of years. Parenting I mean, and they didn’t have monthly cave drawing subscriptions to Parents magazine.

How does this relate to ribs? Well, my first daughter was weaned on jarred organic baby food. My second had edible teethers, slathered in smoky, but not spicy, barbecue sauce. Yes, ribs were her favorite cure for those swollen gums. The fact that they also served as nourishment was a bonus. Of course I did it play it somewhat safe, and eased her developing digestive system into this southern classic.

Perhaps the best part of parenting the second-time around is the confidence gained from simply having had a crack at it once before. Kind of like this recipe too The technique is one I’ve been using for a few years now. Recently, I decided it was time to branch out and added some cocoa to the dry rub, as well as mix up the spices a bit. While our teething woes are behind us—for the most part, this recipe is delicious proof that every now and again time is on our side.

Cocoa-Spice Rubbed St. Louis-Style Ribs
Serves 4 to 6

For the Dry Rub:
3/4 cup (6 ounces) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) paprika
1 teaspoon (2 gram) garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 gram) coriander
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) allspice
1 teaspoon (2 grams) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons (8 grams) kosher salt

For the Braising Liquid:
3/4 cup (168 ml) white wine
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon molasses

For the Ribs
2 racks St.Louis-style pork ribs, about 6 pounds

  1. Preheat oven to 250ºF.
  2. Add all the dry rub ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are combined, about 2 or 3 one-second pulses. Rub mixture evenly all over each rack of ribs, making sure to coat top and bottom. Place ribs, single layer, on a rimmed baking sheet (you may need to use two pans if they don’t fit single layer on one) and let sit, covered, in the refrigerator for at least two hours or as long as overnight.
  3. Meanwhile, place braising ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 1 minute. You can alternately cook this in a small pot over medium-high heat until it reaches a boil.
  4. Remove ribs from refrigerator. Pour braising liquid over ribs, wrap tightly with heavy-duty foil and place in oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat easily pulls away from the bone. Alternate pans halfway through if using two sheets and cooking on separate racks in the oven.
  5. Remove pans from oven, discard foil and pour or spoon the braising liquid through a strainer or sieve into a medium sauce pan, discarding any bits of meat. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce to a vigorous simmer and let cook until liquid reduces by half and becomes a thick, syrupy consistency, 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the broiler. Brush the thickened glaze on top of each rack of ribs. Place ribs under the broiler until the glaze begins to caramelize, one to two minutes (watch carefully, or all your waiting will be spoiled by burned ribs!). Slice and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.
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