By Joell Folger

When the short rib shelf is sold out…hmmm… what else is there? As a former vegetarian and not always the biggest rib fan, this was a dreaded moment for me. Whew, at least I had help from home, My Chef John.

Next to the empty short rib shelf was a pile of beef back ribs. A quick picture text was answered with ‘Sure, let’s give it a try’. Happily home from the store, My Chef John took over. I was completely comfortable with being his sous chef and photographer.

In full chef mode, John went to the spice rack only to return with our go-to spice trio. That trio is smokey or Hungarian paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Tried and true, we have used this blend on just about everything. It’s our favorite for oven roasted chicken thighs.

To prep the ribs, John let them rest on the counter for about an hour before applying the spice rub. A quick sprinkle of salt & pepper, the spice trio was rubbed into the ribs. We let the ribs rest, covered in foil, for another hour or so. This gave the spices a friendly environment to settle into the ribs. The fat from the ribs will form a savory crust like surface as the ribs are cooked low and slow. And when I say low and slow, we are talking at 275* and 4.5 hours.

Even after 4.5 hours, there was still another step to go. Off with the foil and on with a coating of BBQ sauce. Slip the ribs under a broiler til the sauce is bubbling hot, 5 -7 minutes.

Our rib gamble was a success. The meat was so full of flavor, so tender it easily fell off of the bone. The spice trio was the perfect base alone for the ribs. A smoky crust developed that was fantastic, so delicious. This crust was the perfect base to stand up toand compliment the BBQ sauce. In the future, an empty short rib shelf isn’t as bad as one might think. I have much more confidence in rib shopping, cooking and eating.

*Note From Chef: This cut of ribs is also more budget friendly than short ribs can be.

Furthermore, with the proper cooking techniques, most any cut of meat can be exceptional. Don't be shy to explore.

Bon Appetit!


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