Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend! Time to bring out the Orange and Soy-Glazed Ribs and Coleslaw with Apple and Yogurt Dressing to go with them!


        The Un-Official start of summer officially starts this Friday. Out our way, that generally means a lot of premature wearing of summer clothes because we’ll still have a couple of weeks before it gets warm. The cool nights won’t stop the grill fanatics. They’ll haul out their Webers or open up their monster gas grills even if the temperature dips into the 50s.  I love their dedication just as much their wives love their participation in feeding their families.  But I’d prefer have to wait for the warm-up to enjoy grilling. Especially when I can make something as summer-y as Orange and Soy-Glazed St. Louis Cut Pork Ribs and a Coleslaw with the tang of an Apple and Yogurt dressing in the comfort of the kitchen. 
Bon Appetit used
Baby Back Ribs
in their version 
I first saw a version of the Ribs recipe in a winter issue of Bon Appetit.  In it, BA used baby back ribs.  I love those little guys but for a main course, to me nothing beats St. Louis-cut Ribs. Baby Backs are smaller and have less meat on them.  St. Louis are a trimmed version of Spare Ribs.  They have a lot more meat than Baby Backs. I prefer them to anything the supermarket packages up.  Those ribs always seem to have so much waste and inedible bits that I go out of my way to find the St. Louis cut.   The original recipe was advertised as being a way of not having to wait for summer to enjoy the incomparable taste of great pork ribs. No grilling required, they bubble away on the top of the stove for most of the cooking time:  Only at the very end do they go under the broiler to get their glaze and then only for minutes a side. 
         For years, I’ve boiled ribs for a good 30 minutes before doing anything else to them.  This cuts down on their unquestionably high fat content as it tenderizes them.  But in this take, the ribs are simmered in a seasoned soy broth for virtually the entire cooking time of 2 ½ hours.  They emerge almost falling off the bone and full of Asian flavor.    Then they’re brushed with an orange and honey glaze and broiled for just a couple of minute.  What was new to me was the shower of citrus peel—lemon, lime and orange. As you can see in the visual at the visual at the start of this post, the citrus really does improve the look of the otherwise completely brown dish.  So don’t leave them when you present the platter to the table.  They make a great party main course because almost everyone loves ribs and they’re relatively inexpensive. 
The Coleslaw gets its tang
from Green Apples and
Greek Yogurt 
Ribs would be nothing without Cole Slaw.  I would miss the light green and carrot salad’s contrast with the ebony ribs.  But it’s not just the color contrast.  This particular Cole Slaw, made with green apple and Greek yogurt is a lively, tart contrast to the richness of the ribs.
The recipe calls for Broccoli Slaw.   I am familiar with that item through its fairly constant presence at Trader Joe’s.  My enormous supermarket in Bridgehampton, which is stocked to the ceiling with pre-packaged salads of every description, does not carry Broccoli Slaw so the latest batch was Broccoli-free.  If you can find it, by all means use it.  But if you can’t, the slaw won’t suffer.   Just up the quantities of cabbage and carrots.  And one other thing: Add the green apple no more than 20 minutes prior to serving the slaw or it will brown on you. And waiting to add both apple and dressing will give you a crunchier slaw.  Here are the recipes, both adapted from Bon Appetit.

Recipe for Orange and Soy-Glazed Ribs
This recipe is meant for a crowd.  It will serve 10 people with seconds for everyone.  Total cooking time 2hrs. 45 minutes.

St. Louis-cut Ribs are
trimmed Spareribs 
9-10 pounds St. Louis-cut pork ribs, cut into individual servings. (I like to cut them into 2, 3 and 4 rib pieces so that whatever your appetite, there’s a rib that’s your size.)
3 cup soy sauce, divided
27 garlic cloves, minced, divided
15 teaspoons cumin seeds, divided
9 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, divided
9 tablespoons vegetable oil
18 scallions (white and light-green parts separated from dark-green parts), finely chopped and halved. 
4 cups fresh orange juice plus zest from 1 orange
9 tablespoons honey
Zest from 2 lemons and 2 limes
Cut Ribs into individual servings
varying the size of the portions so
there's something for light eaters
Place ribs, 1-1/2 cup soy sauce, 6 minced garlic cloves, 6 teaspoons cumin seeds, and 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes in a large pot; add water to cover completely. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover with lid ajar; cook until ribs are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Drain ribs; set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; add remaining 9 teaspoons cumin seeds and 6 teaspoons red pepper flakes. Toast lightly until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add remaining 21 minced garlic cloves and half the white and pale-green scallions. Sauté until just soft, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 2 ½ cups soy sauce, orange juice, and honey. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce is thick, 20 - 25 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place ribs on prepared sheet; brush with sauce. Broil until sauce bubbles, 2-3 minutes. Turn, brush with additional sauce, and broil until ribs are heated through and sauce is bubbling, 2-3 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter. Drizzle with remaining sauce. Sprinkle dark-green scallions and citrus zest over.

Recipe for Coleslaw with Apple and Yogurt Dressing
8-10 Servings.  Takes 25 minutes to make start to finish.
8 cups mixed shredded red and green cabbage
1 12-ounce bag broccoli slaw mix
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 4)
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated garlic
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 green apple, cored
Combine red and green cabbages, broccoli slaw, carrots, and scallions in a large bowl. Toss to mix well.
Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic in a medium bowl until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Slaw mixture and dressing can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.
No more than 20 minutes before serving, cut core from apple and cut apple into matchstick-size pieces. Add apple to slaw mixture and toss to evenly incorporate. Add dressing (adding earlier will result in a soggy slaw) and toss to evenly coat.


  1. This sounds like a wonderful treat for a long holiday weekend! Happy Memorial Day!

  2. Enjoy every delicious bite! Happy Memorial Day to you too!