Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cayenne Cinnamon Baby Back Ribs with Maple Glaze, Spicy Coleslaw and Buttermilk Cornbread


A friend came over for dinner this weekend and we decided to make ribs.  We went back and forth for almost an hour trying to decide what to make for dinner - we started with Thai and Indian cuisine and somehow ended up with ribs.  We couldn't think of anything that would be relatively easy to make and wouldn't require too much attention or effort.  Then Alex remembered that I had sent him a recipe from Steamy Kitchen for some baby back ribs about a month ago.  It seemed like a good option because we could just throw it in the oven and go hang out.  Good call hon.  As sides for the ribs we threw together some spicy coleslaw and buttermilk cornbread.  Rather than using one of the recipes that we have made in the past for cornbread (and there have been a few), I decided to try something new.  I wanted a plain, but moist cornbread to go with the ribs and coleslaw.  While puttering around on the internet for some inspiration for the cornbread, I  found a buttermilk cornbread recipe on Allrecipes with some of the strangest directions I have ever seen.  So I decided to go ahead and make it because that's just the way I roll.  We also made dessert, but I will post about that later.

According to Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, there are two camps when it comes to ribs - those who want the meat to be fall off the bone tender, and those who want a little "bite" and "chew" to their ribs.  Alex is decidedly in the second camp.  These ribs are as well.  I tend to like my ribs a little on the more tender side - I don't need the meat to fall right off the bone, but I don't really want any resistance in the meat when I go to bite it off the bone.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, I liked the ribs, thought they were interesting (if a little sweet), but I would probably cook them low and slow next time for a much longer period of time so that they get a little more tender.  I would probably also cut down on the amount of brown sugar slightly since the maple glaze gives the ribs plenty of sweetness.  Considering this was our first attempt at making baby back ribs, I think it went really well.  As far as the spicy coleslaw went, it was vinegary and spicy.  I tend to not like coleslaws that are mayonnaise-based, so I decided to make an apple cider vinegar-based dressing and add just a tiny bit of mayo for creaminess.  If I had thought about it I might have cut back on the vinegar a little bit and maybe added some lime juice.  I also would have adjusted the seasonings.  I saw some recipes for sweet and spicy coleslaw that I might try out next time.  And as for the cornbread, I really enjoyed it.  It was on the sweet side, but I thought that it was really nice.  I might cut back on the amount of sugar just a little bit and throw in some frozen (or fresh) corn for texture and go with it.  The cornbread turned out nice and moist and is a nice basic recipe that you could add a variety of ingredients and flavors to.  I have been considering making a white cheddar, poblano pepper cornbread for awhile and this might be the perfect base recipe to use for that experiment.  I thought it was a really nice summery meal - sweet and spicy ribs, spicy coleslaw and sweet buttermilk cornbread.  It's like a backyard barbeque, in the safety of our NYC apartment.

Recipes after the jump!

Cayenne Cinnamon Baby Back Ribs with Maple Glaze
Available on Steamy Kitchen

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (or crushed red pepper flakes)
1 teaspoon sea salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
3 pounds pork baby back ribs
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375F. Remove the tough membrane from the underside of the ribs (if your butcher hasn't already done this for you - the ribs we bought at Fairway didn't have a membrane anymore).

 In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, garlic powder, paprika, ground cinnamon, cayenne and salt.. Place ribs on a double layer of tin foil (large enough to wrap around ribs) and season the ribs on both sides with the rub. Fold over foil and completely cover ribs. Place ribs on baking sheet or roasting pan.

Bake 1 hour or until meat starts to pull away from bones.

Turn broiler on to high and move rack to upper-mid position. Carefully open foil. Brush ribs with maple syrup. Broil ribs 3-4 minutes until browned. Take care not to burn the ribs!

Spicy Coleslaw

1 bag coleslaw mix
3 scallions, green and white parts, trimmed and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard (we used a combination of whole grain and regular Dijon)
1 tsp Tabasco
1 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise
3 tbsp evoo

Toss coleslaw mix and scallions together in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine jalapeno, honey, apple cider vinegar, mustard, mayo, and s&p.  Add evoo in a slow steady stream while whisking.  Season with additional s&p to taste.  

Toss dressing with coleslaw mix.  Serve immediately.

Buttermilk Cornbread
Available on Allrecipes

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving (otherwise you will have trouble getting it out of the pan cleanly).

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