Put on your fat pants people... it's ribs time!!! These ribs are my secret weapon. They are what the internet meme MOAR! was created for. I can impress anybody with them, foodie or not. In fact, that is one of the things I love most about cooking. When you make something that is so hands down awesome that the conversation at a dinner party takes a back seat to French bulldog style snuffling, you can't help but feel pretty good about it. My parents were behaviorists in the 80s, so I am very susceptible to this kind of positive reinforcement.
They key to making awesome ribs is to cook them slowly. Very slowly. That's how you'll get them to fall off the bone and melt in your mouth. I usually make roughly half this recipe (which is enough to serve four people, but only three when you're dealing with some of the male appetites I deal with). This time I was serving an additional male appetite, I made the full recipe and they were slightly less tender than before. I also realised today, as I consulted the recipe to do this post, that I'd forgotten the orange juice this time around, so perhaps that had something to do with it. Whoops. No worries though, I've made this recipe countless times...
I have to admit that I don't know how much meat I used - I forgot to check the weights. But when I do the smaller version, it's usually two long racks of side ribs (each of which could be cut in half to feed a normal sized person heartily). The Joy of Cooking says 4lbs of ribs for the full recipe, so let's go with that. Do use the mango. It was my idea and I dare say it takes the ribs from a 10 out of 10 to a 13. That's right, these ribs are 130% awesome.
In terms of the sauce, I always make the full recipe of the sauce even though you only need half for the ribs. It has a lot of ingredients and I know I will make ribs again, so I freeze the extra 2 cups. Less work for next time!
So here are the ribs their full quantity and glory. You will probably need to halve them. Feed these ribs to your friends and receive positive reinforcement, which will then motivate you to repeat this behaviour. Ribs upon ribs upon ribs. Everybody will be happy!
slow roasted mango ribs
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 lemon slices
4 lbs pork side ribs
half of the above sauce recipe, approx 1 1/2 to 2 cups
1 cup orange juice
2 ripe mangoes, diced
sauce: combine all ingredients in a medium sized pot and bring to a light boil on medium heat. Allow to simmer for five minutes, then remove lemon slices. Cool in the fridge.
ribs: preheat oven to 300ºF and place rack in the centre of the oven. Place your ribs into a roasting pan, bone side down, leaving them as intact as possible for maximum Flintstones eating experience. Mix together barbecue sauce and orange juice, then pour over ribs. Put in the oven. After 30 minutes, flip your ribs to bone side up and roast with the lid on for approximately 2 1/2 more hours (1 1/2 if you're halving), pulling them out every hour or so to baste with all the delicious sauce and fat!
Now is the time to add your mango. Scatter it nicely over your ribs and baste again to let them get nice and saucy. Put back in the oven and roast uncovered for another hour or so (45 minutes if you're halving). Baste it at least once. You'll know your ribs are pretty much done when you have crispy dark boney bits and the meat has shrunk away from the bones and is pretty much disintegrating before your very eyes.
Put on your elastic waist pants and serve the ribs over mashed potatoes (crucial). Eat until you can't anymore and refuse to feel guilty.