Saucy Country Style Oven Ribs

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One thing that anyone who’s on pretty good terms with me will tell you, is that I’m usually a self-depreciating person.

I second guess myself a lot. Even if I try something new and it turns out, I’ll usually focus first on the things I did wrong before acknowledging the things I did right.

Especially when it comes to my cooking. I’m super anal about my cooking.

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If I’m making a meal for a crowd or my family, I’ll taste test the dish over and over again, making sure I’ve got my seasonings right.

I’m obsessed with the done-ness of my meats.I’m either afraid that I’m going to undercook them and feed somebody raw food, or overcook them and give someone a piece of leather. There is no in-between.

I use a thermometer to make sure my cakes bake at just the right temperature to be moist, but not too dry. 190 degrees fahrenheit. Yeah. I totally know it by heart.

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I hover over everyone asking questions about the food:

“How is everything?”

“Taste ok?”

“Is it tender/moist enough?”

“Too sweet? Too salty? Too spicy? Not sweet/salty/spicy enough?”

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Even if the dish turns out well, and everyone likes it, I usually still just let it roll off my back. I’m not huge on gloating or giving myself great huge thumbs up.

Most of the time.

But guess what? This time is different. Very, very different.

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This time, I’m gloating. Majorly gloating.

And I dare anyone to try and stop me.

Life in the kitchen is full of trial and error. Sometimes you’ll fail and mess something up. Sometimes you’ll do ok and put out something that’s passable.

And then sometimes, you’ll make something that totally and completely blows your mind.

That’s what happened to me with this dish, guys.

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Country-Style Ribs were something that before this dish, I’d never handled or attempted to cook with before. Red meat itself is just usually something I don’t get my hands on very much anymore because it’s gotten to be too friggin expensive. But my grocery store put them on sale for SUCH a good deal. And the meat looked so beautifully marbled and vibrant in the package that I just couldn’t help myself. I went ahead and bought two packages.

Because it was my first time making them, I decided to stick with something relatively simple and traditional. No frills, no fancy stuff. Barbecue ribs are the best type of ribs.

But me and the grill don’t get along, so I knew I would have to find another way of making them ‘barbecue style’. Cue this recipe I found on Epicurious.com

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What you’re looking at is hands down, one of the most delicious, outstanding, perfect things that I have ever made in my life.

I am NOT  kidding.

This is legit one of the best foods I’ve ever eaten. I almost couldn’t believe that I actually cooked it. It made me step back, take a look at myself and say, “Hey: maybe I’m actually pretty GOOD  at this whole cooking thing….”

I followed this recipe almost to the letter, the only thing I changed was to decrease the original amount of vinegar called for  in the barbecue sauce recipe. (I’m from the South, so I tend to prefer my sauce on the sweeter side.)

Guys, I can’t say enough about the tenderness of these ribs. I mean…Goll-LEEEEEE. Put that knife away: you will NOT be needing it. I’m not even 100% convinced that you’ll need a fork. That’s how tender and juicy and moist the meat comes out. You can literally pull it apart with your fingers.

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See that? That was me after I took one bite of these ribs.

I was Hot Stuff that day. And the day after that when I ate the leftovers.

Lord, just looking at these pictures is making me re-live the glorious feeling of sheer and complete culinary victory all over again. Somebody get me a trophy and a podium to make an acceptance speech, stat.

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I’m super duper late, but I’m still bringing these ribs to the Fiesta Friday#66 party. Because the world deserves to know about these ribs. It’s that serious.  Thanks to Angie and Anna @Anna International for hosting (all by herself too, that is NO easy task!)

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Saucy Country Style Oven Ribs


Recipe Adapted from Epicurious.com

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Ingredients

  • 4 lb boneless country-style pork ribs
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup (12 oz)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons drained bottled horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

 Directions

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Put ribs in a 6- to 8-quart pot and cover with water by two inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, skimming froth, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic in oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Drain pork in a colander and pat dry, then arrange in 1 layer using tongs in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Pour sauce over pork to coat evenly, then cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 1 hour, then remove foil and carefully turn pork over with tongs and cook, uncovered, until very tender, about 30 minutes. Skim fat from sauce if desired.

Roast Beef and Bourbon Sauce

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Show of hands: how many of you guys out there make something new for dinner every single night?

Okay. Now, still show of hands: how many of you guys out there have full time day-jobs (like 8 or 9-5:00pm) and STILL make something new for dinner every single night?

Well, since we’re not sitting in the same room together, I may as well come clean and tell you guys that my hand’s not up. Although I’m kinda the designated cook in my house- a role I’m admittedly glad to fulfill-I’m still not the type of cook that makes something new for dinner every single night when I get off work. It just doesn’t happen that way.

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When I look back on past generations where women like my grandma really did make breakfast and dinner from scratch every.single.day, I’m really in awe. I personally can’t see myself cleaning a house,doing laundry, running errands and looking after children all day like she did, THEN on top of that throwing down in the kitchen. I just don’t have the energy for that. By the time I get home during the week, just about the only thing I feel like doing is just warming my food up and sitting down to eat it.

Having said that, my personal method of ensuring that me and my family eat good food during the week while also not wearing myself out, is to just make the majority of the food on the weekend, then eat the leftovers during the week.

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I’m trying to make enough food to feed 4 people for about 5 days, so I also usually end up cooking quite a bit. Roasts, pork loins and jumbo packages of chicken breasts are usually what I look for in the grocery store sale ads- with chicken usually being the one that gets picked the most. It’s the most inexpensive, and I actually kinda prefer it to red meat and pork. Sometimes though, I’ll come across a recipe that calls for red meat that I really really really want to make, and beef will win out for the week- which is basically what happened with this recipe.

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It’s been a while since I made a beef roast, and when I found this recipe I decided that it would be the one that would break my dry spell. The prep is actually ridiculously simple-you rub the meat over with salt & pepper then sear it in grapeseed oil- and I will say that the grapeseed oil does make all the difference. It has a really delicious, almost sweet flavor that I’ve never had in using any other cooking oil. After the meat is done roasting, then you can really get down to the good stuff: guys, this… sauce. It’s just amazing. It really exceeded my expectations (not an easy task) and was the perfect accompaniment to the tender, juicy meat. I sliced the roast into thick, round slices and poured the sauce on top, then roasted some vegetables with agave to serve on the side. It’s one of the best meals I’ve made, hands down.

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And even better than that, the leftover sliced beef makes for AMAZING sandwiches throughout the week, hot OR cold.

I’m ridiculously late to the Fiesta Friday #34 party this week, hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener and co-hosted by Selma @Selma’s Table andElaine @Foodbod, but I’m still coming- if for nothing else, because I feel like I HAVE to share this roast beef. Have a good rest of the weekend, guys 🙂

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Roast Beef & Bourbon Sauce

Recipe Adapted from Aaron McCargo, Jr.

CLICK  HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

For Roast Beef

  • 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coarse cracked black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, for searing
  • 1 whole Beef Striploin, trimmed with some fatback remaining

 

For Bourbon Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Add oil to saute pan. Season meat on all sides with salt and pepper.

3. Sear meat on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes each side.

4. Place meat on sheet tray with a rack. Roast meat for 30 to 40 minutes.

5. Crank oven up to 450 degrees F. and roast for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until crust forms and meat is nicely colored. When done, allow to rest before slicing. In a small bowl reserve juice for Bourbon Sauce.

6. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 4 tablespoons butter. Add garlic, onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until nicely Add flour and mix well to form pasty roux.

7. Remove pan from flame. Add bourbon and scrape pan with a wooden spoon. Add stock and mix well removing any lumps.

8. Bring sauce to a boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until sauce thickens. Add sugar and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon cold butter and whisk together. Stir in reserved roast beef juice. Finish with parsley. Serve on top or along side of roasted meat.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

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Do you guys remember the first time that you had beef stew?

No, I don’t mean anything that came out of a can or white plastic package that was labeled Dinty Moore, Hungry Man or  Campbell’s that you had to nuke inside a microwave. That doesn’t count here.

I mean, do you remember the last time you had real beef stew: a thick, rich, , hearty, completely homemade brew of tender meat and vegetables simmering on the stove that filled the house with an aroma that made everyone literally salivate with hunger? Does anyone remember when they first had stew like that?

I sure remember the first time that I did.

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I was in my third year of undergrad at college, right before the time that I started to become interested in learning how to cook. Me and my sister (my roommate) had moved out of the dorms and into an apartment on campus. The dorm that we lived had for two years had recently been remodeled just our freshman year, including the cafeteria. We were very fortunate in that the food was not only edible, but pretty good for the most part. It spoiled us, to be honest. We didn’t realize just how much until we moved into our apartment without a cafeteria meal plan. It was…a learning experience.

We learned that frozen chicken patties got old. As did the microwaveable dinners. We also found out that as college students, consistently ordering out at local restaurants and take-out joints was not economically sustainable. Something would have to be done.

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I reached out to my mom with our ‘desperate’ situation. Her maternal instincts were completely dependable and she immediately made it apart of her routine to cook homemade meals for her daughters on the weekends that we would pick up when we came home so that we wouldn’t have to eat processed crap or takeout all the time.

My mom’s a fantastic cook. Really, truly fantastic. She made us a lot  of big, bulk dishes that could either be really stretched out to last during the week, or frozen to eat later in the future. It was one week in the Spring that one of the things Jas and I got sent home with was a big pot of beef stew.

I’d never had beef stew that wasn’t microwaveable before. But I had absolute confidence in my mom’s cooking and figured that anything she made had to be pretty good.

I was wrong.

Her beef stew wasn’t ‘pretty good’. It was absolutely incredible. To this day, that stew is seriously one of the best tasting things I’ve ever put in my mouth. The blend of spices and seasonings was just perfect. It may seem weird, but I actually remember being jealous that my mom was able to produce something that tasted so good. It was the start of my wanting to be able to learn how to cook for myself. When I finally did get comfortable in the kitchen, I still remembered the taste of that beef stew. I wanted it again. Badly. So I asked my mom what she put in it.

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Remember my mom’s philosophy about cooking? She doesn’t really use recipes anymore. Her answer was somewhere along the lines of  “Oh, I don’t know, I just put some stuff together.”

Which, you know, was loads of help.

Nevertheless: I made it a personal goal of my kitchen aspirations to be able to replicate the taste of that beef stew my mom made me in college. I’m still trying to get it down to this day. Not to say that the ones I’ve tried aren’t good- everyone, including her, tells me that they are. But they juuuuuust aren’t quite as wonderful as my mom’s.

This one though? It’s close. Not the same…but it is close.

{P.S: The rolls you see in see the background were not put there at random: there WILL be a recipe for them coming your way soon ;-)}

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Old Fashioned Beef Stew

Recipe Adapted from The Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook (14th Ed)

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 12 ounces beef stew meat, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 cups vegetable juice
  • 1 cup beer (Don’t use anything you wouldn’t want to drink)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant beef bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups cubed potato (sweet or white, according to preference)
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 cup sliced carrot (2 medium)

Directions

1. Place flour in a plastic bag. Add meat cubes, a few at ta time, shaking to coat.

 2. In a  Dutch oven or large saucepan brown meat in hot oil; drain fat.

  • 3. Stir in vegetable juice, water, onion, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon granules, oregano, marjoram, pepper and bay leaf.

4. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until meat is tender.

  • 5. Stir in potato, corn and carrot. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered about 30 minutes more, or until meat and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf.

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Ashley’s Meat Pies

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I do most of the cooking in my house, and usually when I ask everyone what they would like for me to make, I don’t get too specific an answer.  Instead, I hear things like this:

“I don’t care,”

“It doesn’t matter to me.”

“Anything…just as long as it’s not chicken, I’m tired of chicken.”

See what I have to work with? (And for the record, it’s impossible for anyone to get tired of chicken. I certainly don’t- and therefore, it’s impossible).

But sometimes, I will get a very specific request to make something someone has a craving or hankering for. For my twin sister, Jasmine, it’s usually for baked spaghetti (she could eat that stuff every day). My mom really likes fried chicken. My older sister Ashley really likes these meat pies. Truth to be told, she’s been asking me to make her some of these for a long while now. The problem is, the last couple of times I made meat pies, I didn’t make them to her satisfaction. See, being the foodie that I am, I like to experiment with different flavor combinations and various fillings for savory pies. I’ve got dozens of recipes for pies and empanadas that I still have to try out: spicy Caribbean with curry powder and sweet potato, French Canadian with cinnamon and cloves, southwestern with salsa and corn…the possibilities are endless.

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But Ashley doesn’t go for all that. She likes to keep her meat pies simple. And by simple, I mean that the only thing she likes in her meat pies is meat. Nothing else.  Yeah, I know. Weird.

Well, I’m a good sport and I generally like to give people what they want (where cooking is involved anyway), so I decided to put aside all of my great genius of  culinary creativity and make Ashley her meat pies the way that she wanted them. The only ‘challenge’ I saw with a recipe like this is making sure that even though the ingredients are sparse, they still have flavor. Because as versatile as ground beef can be, it can still turn out pretty bland- especially without any powerful spices to give it some character. Since I was essentially only working with a ‘beef’ flavor, I decided to just bump it up a few notches. That ‘bump’ mainly came from a packet of Beefy Onion Soup Mix. It enhanced the flavor of the meat, while also giving it some moisture so it wasn’t dried out inside the pastry after baking.

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These meat pies are pretty easy to make, not just because of the simplicity of the filling, but also because the ‘pastry’ is really just canned biscuits that I stretched out with my hands, then folded together. I know, I’m cheating. But I had other things to cook that day, and needed something in a quick fix that would still taste good. I’m not afraid of making my own pie crust, but if you are, then the biscuits in this recipe are an easy and just as delicious alternative.  I went with Pillsbury Grand’s Southern Biscuits. Word of advice though: do NOT use any Flaky kinds. Flaky biscuits puff up and separate while baking, and while this is fine eating them on their own, it doesn’t work well for meat pies. You want them to stay together. That’s the whole point.

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Traditional meat pies in Australia and the UK are typically served with ketchup on the side for dipping. These would probably taste fine that way, but I also think that barbecue sauce or A1 steak sauce would be pretty tasty. I just served them with the leftover gravy I had from the filling, and they got the thumbs up from Ashley. But you can serve/eat yours however you want. It’s your world.

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FEED(ME)BACK: What special dishes do you make for your loved ones?

Ashley’s Meat Pies

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Yield: 16 pies

Ingredients

2 to 2 1/2 lbs of ground beef

1lb sausage (Any variety you like is fine, I used Jenni-O Turkey Sausage)

2 cans refrigerated Biscuits (NO FLAKY KINDS- I used Pillsbury Grands Southern)

1 packet of Beefy Onion Soup Mix

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp Pepper

1/2 tsp sugar

2 cups water

4 tablespoons flour

1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Brown the beef and sausage together in a skillet over medium heat. Drain off fat, extra juices in a colander. Place drained meat in bowl and set aside to cool.

3. Pour onion soup packet and water in a 2 qt. saucepan with 4 tablespoons of flour and bring to a boil.

4. Add garlic powder, pepper and sugar and stir to combine. Let gravy cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes.

 5. Scoop 1/3 cup of cooled gravy and mix into browned meat. Then, add another 1/3 cup of gravy and stir to combine, being sure to evenly coat the filling.

6. Lay out a piece of wax paper or parchment paper on counter top. Open canned biscuits, and separate, one at a time as you go.

7. Use your fingers to gently spread and stretch biscuit, pressing outward from the center to the rim of dough. It should be about 3-4 inches wide.

8. Scoop out a little less than 1/4 cup of meat and gravy filling and place it in center of biscuit dough.

9. Gently fold one side of dough over the filling and press it against bottom side. Crimp the edges of the dough with a fork to ensure that it is sealed and does not leak during baking.

10. Place pies on greased baking sheets, about eight per pan. Brush tops with beaten egg with a pastry brush.

11. Bake for 15-20 minutes in preheated oven until golden brown on tops and bottoms*

 *Depending on the type of oven you have, you may need to rotate the pans from top to bottom oven shelves halfway through to ensure even baking.