The craving for ribs doesn’t end the minute the grill gets garaged for the winter. Fortunately, Bobby Flay developed an oven/broiler combination that takes the place of the backyard barbecue and delivers, in no time at all, an excellent rack of Baby Back Ribs. The whole of Chef Flay’s recipe included a Honey-Mustard Glaze. I wanted to make mine pure Asian, since I also wanted our dinner to include an Asian Cucumber Salad and, because I am deep-diving into Trader Joe’s “Fearless Flyer” for an upcoming post, I wanted to serve their Scallion Pancakes. I followed Chef Flay’s technique to the letter and made a Honey-based Glaze cranked up with Asian ingredients. The ribs were fall-apart good and amazingly tender. The glaze topped them off with sticky sweet and spicy sauce. The Cucumber Salad both complemented the ribs and colored the plate. And the Scallion Pancakes were more than passable. But you’ll have to wait on the Trader Joe’s post to hear all about those. The miracle of this meal was in its timing: Perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked, perfectly sauced ribs in under 2 hours. No overnight marinade required! (Try finding a recipe that doesn’t require at least 7 hours advance preparation and you’ll immediately spark to this one.) So what is Bobby Flay’s flawless technique?
You start with a very hot oven. 500 degrees. While the oven heats up, you boil some water to which you add soy sauce and ginger. Into a roasting pan that goes. The ribs are brushed with canola oil salt and pepper and then elevated on a rack in the roaster. The roaster is then tightly covered with aluminum foil and put into the hot oven for an hour and half. It’s that easy. And while the ribs roast, you put together the Honey Glaze in all of about 5 minutes and then you wait.
The ribs come out of the oven and are glazed. Back under the broiler they go and presto, perfectly glazed, crispy, spicy pork ribs that beat the hell out of anything from our local Chinese take-out. I made the Chinese Cucumber salad while the ribs roasted so that it could be chilled in the fridge until serving. The Scallion Pancakes could have been made stovetop or in the oven. I chose the latter and in about 5 minutes they joined the Cucumber Salad and the rested ribs on the plates. In the dead of a midwinter night, all that was missing from dinner were the embers from the Weber. Here are the recipes:
Recipe for Asian Spiced Honey Glazed Ribs, technique adapted from Bobby Flay
Active Time: 15 Minutes. Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 minutes. Serves 4.
For the Ribs:
2 racks of Baby Back Ribs (about 4 lbs)
4 tablespoons Canola Oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup Soy Sauce
4 Cups of Water
2-3 inch piece of ginger, skin-on and sliced.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine the soy sauce, 4 cups of water and the sliced ginger and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a roasting pan, fitted with a rack, and arrange the ribs on the rack. Wrap the pan in foil and roast until the ribs are tender, about 1 ½ hours.
While the ribs are cooking, make the Asian Cucumber Salad.
For the Salad:
1 tbsp. soy sauce
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Sugar or Stevia
1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Dash of Sesame Oil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 long English Cucumber, skin on, thinly sliced.
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced into strips.
In a medium bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, oils and pepper flakes. Mix in the cucumber and red pepper slices. Chill before serving.
For the Glaze:
½ cup of Hoisin Sauce
¼ cup Soy Sauce
1 tbsp. Kecap Manis * or Unsulphered Molasses
3 ½ tbsp. coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
¾ cup Honey
1. In a blender, combine the hoisin sauce with the soy sauce, kecap manis or molasses, ginger, garlic and ½ cup of honey and puree until smooth. Then add the Sambal Oelek on Hot Sauce and pulse to combine.
* Kecap Manis (pronounced KEH-chup MAH-nees) is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce with a molasses consistency and a dark brown color. Flavored with garlic, star anise, soybeans, and palm sugar, the sauce is more syrupy and complex than commonplace soy sauce.
* Substitute hot sauce to taste.
To glaze the ribs:
Once the ribs are cooked, remove them form the oven and transfer them to baking sheets lined with foil or parchment paper. Make sure you baking sheets will fit under your broiler. Turn the broiler on and let it heat fo 3 to 5 minutes.
Brush the ribs heavily on the meaty side with some of the glaze. Put them under the broiler and broil until deep brown and a crust has formed. Remove the ribs from the oven to a cutting board and brush with more of the glaze. Let them rest 10 minutes while you make the packaged Scallion Pancakes. Plate the ribs on individual plates or arrange them on a serving platter and serve.