Glazed Pork Ribs

These ribs are Good.  And yes, I meant to capitalize that.  Now, I had my wisdom teeth out about a week ago, so it could be that I’m just so excited to be eating something other than soup or Talenti Gelato (although, let’s be honest, no one gets tired of that stuff), that I’m exaggerating, but I really don’t think so.  Now I’m well aware that few things compare to ribs cooked for hours on the grill – all tender and slightly smoky, but these are the next best thing.  They do take a medium amount of work; I had them on the table in about 4 hours, but 3/4 of that was cooking time, and they are well worth the effort.  I took the recipe from the latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and it was really easy to follow.  Actually, although I’ve been getting the magazine for over a year and I have probably a hundred recipes bookmarked with sticky notes, this is the first one I’ve made.  I was a little intimidated by it at first since it came from the “Best New Restaurants” article, and the first thing I think when I see that is “well, I’ll never get that out of my kitchen”, but really, it’s very do-able.

Basically, you’re sandwiching two racks of ribs around a sliced lemon and a couple sprigs of rosemary, wrapping all that up in parchment and foil, and baking it in the oven.  And let me tell you, the flavors you get out of it will blow your mind. In fact, when you unwrap them, you probably shouldn’t taste them, because you might end up “tasting” a little too much and then not have any room for what comes next.  So now they’re all tender and smelling deliciously lemony and rosemary-y, but since you’ve pretty much just been steaming them in their own juices, they’re a little lacking in the “crispy and caramelized” department.  So you slice them up and broil them to give them a little color. I did make one change here and I recommend that you do the same – the recipe has you baste them with the glaze after broiling, but I think you should do it before.  I had to do two batches under the broiler and on the first one, I put them in while I was making the glaze (super easy – pork juice in saucepan with seasonings + thickener = done) and brushed it on after.  On the second batch I got lazy and decided to glaze them first and then broil them and I much preferred that.  The flavors really mellowed out and were more of an accent to the pork rather than overwhelming it.  And you can always baste them again lightly when they come out if you find them lacking.  Oh, and if you’re industrious enough to follow the link to the original recipe, you’ll notice that they’re actually called “Glazed Pork Ribs with Shichimi Togarashi”, and you may be all like “Hey didn’t you leave out a main ingredient?  I mean it’s in the title.”  I couldn’t find shichimi togarashi (OK, I won’t lie, I really didn’t even look), so I used a little Aleppo Pepper instead for a little heat.  No worries.

Glazed Pork Ribs

2 racks St. Louis–style pork ribs (about 4 lb.)

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, very thinly sliced

2 sprigs rosemary plus 1 Tbsp. minced

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced, plus 1 tsp. finely grated

2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

Shichimi togarashi*

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange a double layer of foil on a rimmed baking sheet so foil hangs over sides. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on foil. Season ribs all over with 1 1/2 Tbsp. salt and pepper.  Place 1 rack of ribs, bone side up, on parchment. Arrange sliced lemon, rosemary sprigs, and sliced garlic over. Lay remaining rack over, bone side down, creating a pocket between the racks. (The seasonings in the center will infuse the meat as it bakes.)

Cover ribs with another sheet of parchment; crimp edges to seal. (The parchment seals in flavor and prevents the acid of the lemons from reacting with the foil.) Wrap ribs tightly with foil to form a tight seal (use extra foil, if necessary, to completely enclose ribs, and crimp edges together to tightly seal).  Bake ribs for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let rest at room temperature, still sealed in foil, for 1 hour. Do not open; ribs will continue to cook and become tender. I know this part is hard, because you just want to take one little peek, but don’t.  You’ll let all yummy goodness out.

Carefully open foil. Transfer ribs to a platter or another baking sheet; discard lemon slices and rosemary sprigs. Pour pork juices into a measuring cup. Add water if needed to measure a scant 1 cup. DO AHEAD: Ribs can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap in foil and chill. Cover and chill juices separately.

Bring reserved pork juices, minced rosemary, grated garlic, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and lemon zest to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl for slurry. Whisk slurry into juices to thicken (the glaze should just coat the back of a spoon). Season glaze with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if desired. DO AHEAD: Glaze can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Gently rewarm before using.

Preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut between bones to separate ribs. Transfer ribs to prepared baking sheet and broil**, turning occasionally, until beginning to brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with warm glaze. Sprinkle with scallions and shichimi togarashi.

*Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese red-pepper seasoning mix, and can be found at Japanese markets and in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets. I used Aleppo Pepper instead, but you can get creative and use whatever you like. Or you can be a good recipe follower and hunt you up some Shichimi Togarashi just like it says.

**As noted above, I glazed first and then broiled, and much preferred the results.  I just brushed them again very lightly when they came out and found that to be perfect.

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