Pardon me. I meant to say Oh, baby...back ribs with Root Beer Barbecue Sauce
Sloppy, tangy, meaty indulgence. Ribs aren't your typical Monday night dinner. But you can't very well serve bowls of cereal for Memorial Day, can you? Like most special meats, these ribs are a bit pricey. To lure holiday shoppers, my grocery store had them going for $3.99/lb. I'm hopeful you can find a similar deal, or my name isn't Prudence Pennywise. (Well, actually, it isn't, but I still say you can find a good deal.)
As sinfully delicious as these are, you won't want leftovers as they don't reheat too well. Make only enought to eat in one sitting. Oh don't cry-you can make some again soon. For my family of four, I made 3 lbs. Increase the quantity significantly if you invite my littlest (in age and possibly in jean size) sister Mary Kate. She won't stand for less than half a rack to herself and at 28 she still gets cranky if underfed.
You're going to need at least 24 hours of some easy advance preparation. First, you'll mop the ribs with Dijon mustard, then coat them with a savory spice rub, cut them into sections and marinate them in a fizzy can of root beer for 12-36 hours. Still with me?
Ribs should be precooked before heading out to the grill. Some people boil them, others stick them in the crock pot; I simply bake them wrapped tightly in foil for an hour. You can do that a day ahead, too. Flexible, huh? All they require from there, is a simple high heat fizzle on the grill. If you don't have a grill, they'll do fabulously well under a broiler.
Now, what sends these ribs from everybody's yummy to holiday superlative, is the Root Beer Barbecue Sauce. When you taste it, you won't think "Snoopy's soda pop," but you might glow golden from your fingertips and break out in hymns of praise. You'll need to boil down a couple of cans of root beer until thick and syrupy, and then simply stir it up with smoky barbecue sauce and Dijon.
I'm warning you now-make extra. You'll want extra to dip your ribs in, some on BBQ chicken next week, some to spread on a roast beef sandwich, and some to dip your onion rings in after that. You'll also need to save some plain root beer syrup for the most sensational Root Beer Freeze possible (coming tomorrow). Don't say I didn't warn you.
Baby Back Ribs with Tangy Root Beer Barbecue Sauce
Estimated Cost: $15.00 and worth every pennyFor the Syrup:
3 cans root beer
For the Sauce:
about 1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
about 1/2 cup purchased smoky barbecue sauce
For the Ribs:
3 lbs. baby back ribs
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 can root beer
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring root beer to a boil. Boil until reduced by half and syrupy, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature. (You'll have lots extra-plenty for root beer freezes.) In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup each dijon, barbecue sauce, and root beer syrup. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
For the ribs, cut ribs into sections-about 3-4 bones per person. Rub generously with Dijon and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, powder, and paprika. Please don't measure-just eyeball it. Let sit for 15 minutes. Place in large zip top bag and pour rootbeer over the top, zip top and refrigerate. Let marinate for 12-36 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil. Discard marinade. Wrap ribs tightly in foil and bake on cookie sheet for 60 minutes. (At this point you can refrigerate ribs again, or head directly to the grill.) Brush ribs generously with Root Beer sauce and place on preheated grill. Grill for 10-20 minutes, turning once, and basting with sauce often until ribs are nicely carmelized. (They are already fully cooked, so you are just going for that great crispy, burnt sugar coating.)
Coming Tomorrow: Root Beer Freezes with Root Beer Syrup