My family moved to a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida, for a few years when I was in middle school; this was long enough for us to discover shrimp boils, sunfish, and key limes but short enough to prevent us from becoming Southerners. My family still cooks what I would call very “northern” food, and I definitely follow along those lines (though I tend to experiment a bit more with ingredients and cuisines). However, we did learn to love ribs when we lived there! My dad can cook up a mean rack of baby backs. Roasted in the oven until tender and finished up on the grill, slathered with tangy barbecue sauce (he used to use Sweet Baby Rays and now he uses Stubbys … strange that it’s not homemade, because his homemade barbecue sauce for barbecue is out of this world), they are close to heaven! I love his technique, but I’m not a fan of canned barbecue sauce: too much sugar and too “fake” tasting.
Enter this recipe for a roasted rack of pork spare ribs which is seasoned with a spice paste. I found this recipe in my Everyday Foods magazine from Emeril Lagasse’s monthly column. The recipe called for a chipotle-honey spice mixture, rubbed first onto the ribs for their stint in the oven, and later wiped on a second time as a glaze during a quick grill. Since I have no grill – thanks, apartment living – I had to modify the recipe a little (when don’t I?!). Luckily I did, because the ribs were the most tender pieces of meat that ever entered my mouth! Even better, the taste was simply amazing: spicy and satisfying in a deep way. Needless to say, I was literally shoveling the rib meat into my mouth – disgusting mental picture, I know, but it’s the truth. I just could not get enough of it. The meat was actually so tender that it fell off the bone, and I was forced to eat the ribs with a knife and fork. Oh, pity … if that’s the only downside to this recipe, I’ll take it! Here is my version of Emeril’s chipotle-honey roasted ribs:
- 1 lb rack pork spare ribs
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (canned), chopped very finely
- 2 Tbsp dry mustard powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and dry the ribs. Place ribs on a double sheet of aluminum foil with a light spritz of cooking spray underneath the ribs. Mix the spices together in a bowl and spread thickly onto the top of the ribs. Wrap the ribs in the foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack for two hours. Open the foil packet and broil in the oven until the top of the ribs are browned and crispy (but not charred like mine were!). Serve and enjoy!