Caramelized Apple Pork Ribs

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This weekend, my bf’s roomie and i had an iron chef cook-off. The secret ingredient was apple and we duked it out for an amazing and humongous meal for ourselves and our friends. I actually ended up winning, though i really was more impressed by his cooking ability and creativity! what this competition taught me was that my cooking style is more down home hearty vs. his sophisticated, elegant cooking. I think i could learn a lot from him!

Ok, prepare yourselves for our menu:

-Apple Soup with a dollop of sour cream and dash of cinnamon (J)
-Sole Picatta with grape infused apple chunks (instead of actual grapes) (J)
-Caramelized Apple Pork Ribs (Me)
-Baked Cornish Hens with Cherry Apple Sauce (J)
-Apple Cider Green Beans (Me)
-Apple Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel sauce (Me)

!! oh my lord!! we plated everything individually, and with the help of our awesome cleaning crew (my bf and his other roommate), were able to whisk our guests through this marathon meal.

i am still working on my plating technique.

here’s the spread! ribs to the right and hens to the left!

Now I’d like to share with you my caramelized apple pork ribs recipe. I wanted to do a variation of a dish my mom makes that uses baby back ribs and the Vietnamese caramelizing pork method. Unfortunately, the package labelled baby back ribs at the store turned out to be regular ribs, but the dish still turned out so flavorful and juicy.

2 racks of “baby back” ribs (i can’t believe it was mislabeled!)
3-4 cups of apple cider
garlic salt
black pepper
2 honey crisp apples
lots of sugar
2 cups apple sauce
1 bunch green onions chopped

1. cut ribs into sections of 3 or 4 ribs, and rub ribs all over with garlic salt & black pepper

2. dice an apple

3. place ribs in a deep bowl or pan and cover partially with apple cider and throw in the diced apples while you are at it. let marinate for at least 1 hr. I let them sit for about 3 hrs in the fridge.

4. once you are ready to cook, turn the oven to 350 degrees and get a medium – large pot and put about 3/4 cup sugar & 1 TB olive oil in and heat up. once the sugar starts turning golden, toss in 3 rib sections and stir around so the ribs pick up all the caramel. flip them all around and let meat get slightly browned, about 3 -5 min total. Remove and place in a large roasting pan. Repeat til you finish all the ribs.

5. place rib sections so they are as flat as possible, but overlapping a bit is ok. pour in the remaining marinade liquid, another diced apple, enough apple cider to almost cover the ribs, apple sauce, more garlic salt & black pepper. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 2 hrs. ( I was on a time crunch b/c of shared oven time so i only gave them 1 hr. still tasty, but could have been more “fall off the bone”)

6. remove from oven and place rib sections in a broiling pan. pour the liquid into a pot and start reducing to a gravy and add some corn starch until you find it thick enough. turn oven to broil and give the ribs about 10 min under the broiler or until nice and browned/blackened on the edges.

7. sprinkle chopped green onions over ribs on a plate (or left directly on the broiling pan as I did) and pour the gravy over top of the ribs. make sure you bring the remaining gravy to the table b/c it is soo sweet and rich ! you gotta get messy with these ribs!

I’ll get you guys some pictures soon. these were AWESOME and I highly recommend them for feeding a large party.