Friday Finds: Easy-Peasy Ribs

At the beginning of every summer, I load the basement freezer with a bunch of meat for the grill. I tend toward steak and fish but will, occasionally, buy pork in various forms. I'm a huge fan of ribs and want to be the kind of grill-master (smoker-master?) that can turn out the kind of falling-off-the-bone baby-backs that you get at a good BBQ joint.

That's never actually happened.

A few weeks ago, I bought six pounds of ribs at the butcher. They were on sale and I couldn't help myself. I had visions of gorgeous pork ribs on the grill being brushed with some heavenly BBQ sauce - little bits of crispy fat on the edges. *drool*

Reality is an entirely different beast though. Turns out that the people I was going to cook for couldn't come over that particular weekend. I had to keep the ribs for a few more days and they would have to be cooked during the week. After work. Ugh.

So, my cooking plans had to change.

To my rescue, a friend suggested a crock-pot rib recipe that she had just recently found online from the blog "Our Family Eats". I was dubious for two reasons: (1) the ribs wouldn't have any charcoal-y goodness and (2) I have an unnatural fear of leaving my crock pot on all day when I'm at work. But I was in a bind so I gave it a shot.

The night before, I prepped the meat, chopped the veggies, and put the entire thing together in the crock pot. The pot then went into the refridgerator and, in the morning before I took my shower, I turned the crockpot on low with the intention of leaving it to cook all day until I got home from work. This was a giant leap of faith for me and I spent a lot of time that day worrying that my house was going to burn down.

At the end of the day (literally), what I ended up with was some amazing pork. They weren't the BBQ ribs of my dreams but they were cooked beautifully, had amazing flavor, and made for a number of fantastic meals. If I make them again, I might alter the recipe to make the cooking sauce more of a BBQ style but, for what it's worth, the original recipe is worth trying at least once.


Beef Short Ribs
serves 4
3 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed of visible fat
salt and pepper
28 ounces diced tomatoes
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 medium onion, diced
[variation: I added some diced medium hot peppers - I used Hungarian Wax]
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled [variation: I fine-chopped the garlic]
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place short ribs on a roasting pan and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper to taste.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Let cool and trim and additional visible fat from beef using a paring knife.  (You can do this part the day before you want to serve these and refrigerate overnight.)
Place short ribs in a crock pot.  Add all other ingredients.  Stir gently to combine. Cook on low heat for 10 hours (or 8 hours at minimum).  Remove bones from pot.  Serve beef and sauce over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.  Drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar if desired.

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