A good BBQ sauce is like a well made, bright colored handbag.
Never thought you’d ever hear someone compare BBQ sauce to a handbag, eh? (Yes, I’m Canadian…).
Well it’s true. You know you need one and when you pull it out, it knocks the outfit (read dish) out of the universe. That’s what a good, homemade BBQ sauce can do. It will turn boring old chicken into finger licking, lip smacking, OMG this is freakin’ good chicken! What about brisket?! Ever cook brisket in BBQ? Well there are BBQ brisket stands popping up everywhere – from tailgates to food trucks – this is it, folks! BBQ is in!
When I was a kid, nothing smelled more like summer than the smell of BBQ in the air. Montreal is so darn cold that even if there was snow left on our patios and the air was still chilly, you would smell BBQ in the air because, hey- let’s face it- Canadians are crazy about BBQ and we are willing to freeze our redneck asses off just to have some.
Whether on an actual BBQ or in a slow cooker, BBQ ribs are the quintessential comfort food. I was recently speaking with this amazing woman I met down here in Florida and she was telling me that this year, for Rosh Hashanah, she asked her guests what type of food they wanted. It was unanimous – they wanted comfort food. With everything going on in the world right now, she explained, people just want to chill out a bit – not worry about calories, if something is organic or not – and just have a delicious meal that reminded them of the good old days. So I thought, why not?
Just a little word as to why I make my own BBQ sauce. When you buy BBQ sauce, there is a little ingredient most people don’t really think about. It’s called liquid smoke. You see, most “smoked” products aren’t really smoked but contain this ingredient which makes them taste like they are. I won’t get into it here, but you should look it up. All I have to say is that I refuse to put that in my body. I don’t feed my family BBQ all the time, maybe once or twice a year in fact, but I truly believe the secret in life is moderation.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes on skillet and 4 hours in a slow cooker
Serves: That’s tricky because in my house, we eat a lot! For a normal family: 8-10
If you choose to freeze the leftover ribs, be sure to freeze the leftover BBQ sauce so you can re-baste the meat before heating.
1 beef back ribs (about 2 lbs)
3 packs short ribs, boneless (about 1 lbs each pack), cut into cubes
NOTE: I make ribs on the bone and boneless because let’s face it, some of us are nuts about BBQ and if it doesn’t come with a bib and messy fingers, it ain’t BBQ while others are like, “Hell no! I’m not risking this blouse. Knife and fork, please!” (FYI, that last one was me)
1 large vidalia onion, cubed
1 large elephant garlic clove, minced (if you can’t find elephant garlic, use 4 regular garlic cloves)
1/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 c. ketchup
2 tsp. smoked hot paprika
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sriracha
3 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
You will need a heavy duty, cast iron skillet (I use Creuset) and 6 qt. or larger ( but not too large) slow cooker to fit all the meat as well as a small pot to make the BBQ sauce.
Begin by adding 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil at the bottom of the slow cooker and 1/3 c. of freshly squeezed orange juice. Add the chopped onions and the garlic and make a nice bed at the bottom.
Here’s the plan which will reduce mess considerably:
In the skillet you will brown your meat. Next, you will take that browned meat with tongs and place it in the BBQ sauce to coat it and finally, you will put it directly on the bed of onions and garlic in the slow cooker. As you go along with this line-up, you will pile up the meat in the slow cooker. Once you finish a level of meat, so to speak, you will sprinkle the parsley on top. You will keep repeating this until all the meat is in the slow cooker.
Let’s begin with the BBQ sauce:
Place the ketchup, smoked paprika, brown sugar, vegetable oil, dijon mustard, sriracha, garlic and Worcestershire sauce in the small pot. Turn heat on to medium-high. Gently whisk all the ingredients together. Bring the sauce to a boil and once at a boil, reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until it thickens, about 15 minutes.
Now sprinkle salt and pepper over the meat and heat the skillet on medium-high with 4 tbsp. vegetable oil. Once the skillet is very hot, add the meat in small batches to brown.
Once meat is nicely browned, using tongs, dunk the meat into the BBQ sauce to coat.
STOP DROOLING IN MY POT.
Seriously, stop it.
Next, place the meat on the onions and garlic in the slow cooker.
Begin the process over again until all the meat is done. Don’t forget to sprinkle the parsley on the meat as you go along.
Close the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or until meat is fork tender. Check every so often to make sure its not burning. If it begins to burn, cook on medium heat. Using a large spoon, turn meat over once or twice during cooking.
Once ribs are fork tender, remove from slow cooker and dip once more in leftover BBQ sauce. Serve immediately.
There will be lots of liquid in the slow cooker left. Do not throw it out! It is full of flavour. If you want to thicken it up, pour liquid in a saucepan, add 1 tbsp. cornstarch and whisk over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until back of a spoon is nicely coated with sauce when dipped inside. You can save this sauce and marinate chicken then grill it for even more BBQ fun!
If you want to freeze the ribs don’t forget to freeze the BBQ sauce separately.
Adapted from THE BEST BBQ SAUCE FOR CHICKEN by www.endlessmeal.com