Beef ribs are a very popular item with many a restaurant offering them as a specialty.
The problem is many people I have talked to don't know how to cook beef ribs.
I can certainly relate to that as it took me a fair bit of research and experimentation to develop a simple method for insuring a delightful meal every time.
The difference between good ribs and great ribs lies in the marinade and the sauce.
This stands true for both a delectable flavor and a juicy, tender texture.
I have seen a variety of methods to slow cook beef ribs.
Some as simple as throwing them in a crock pot to some very elaborate setups to maintain the desired temperature and keep in the moisture during the long cooking time.
To begin with you want to get some quality ribs from grass fed cows, which get to roam around and are not raised in crowded pens.
The local farmer whom I get my humanely raised beef from sells short ribs for $4.
00 per pound.
As I have explained in other articles on cheap healthy meals, you don't need a big piece of meat.
By making sides with homemade stock you can have nutritious, inexpensive meals without using much meat.
Hence, I typically use about 4/10 lbs, which is about $1.
60 worth of meat per serving.
With a side of basmati rice or lentils and a good portion of vegetables I am usually quite satiated.
For you big meat eaters even if you doubled the portion it still is only a bit over $3.
00 for a serving.
A paltry sum compared to what you pay even in a relatively inexpensive rib joint.
Of all the methods I have studied and tried, I find slow cooking the ribs in the oven to be the simplest and the best.
First of all to insure that they are tender and tasty I marinate them in the fridge for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.
Then, I cook them all day in the oven at a low temperature.
To keep them moist and full of flavor I drench them in sauce and wrap them tightly in heavy duty aluminium foil.
If you only have regular foil you can just double it.
With the shiny side down I place them in the middle of a piece of foil with about 6 inches of extra at each end.
I pick up the sides, even them up and make about a 1/2 in.
fold and crease it.
Then I continue to fold it until I get it tight against the ribs.
All that remains now is to carefully fold the open ends in like manner.
If done carefully this produces a seal that does not allow any sauce to escape while cooking.
It took me a few attempts to perfect this.
It also took a number of trials to get the temperature and time right.
It is best to use a thermometer to check the temperature of your oven as they do tend to vary.
You want to have it at least 70 degrees C (150 F) but no more than 80 C (176 F).
By all day at this temperature I mean roughly 8 hours.
The marinade is pretty simple but very effective.
The amounts of each ingredient depends on how many ribs you are making and personal taste.
I am usually only cooking for one so I just eyeball it and do it in a zip-lock bag so I don't need much, as I roll it up tight.
I use extra virgin olive oil with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice, cracked peppercorns, sea salt and some chopped garlic.
I then add whatever fresh herbs I have on hand, my favourite being marjoram.
Usually some thyme, parsley and basil.
The sauce is made from a tomato ketchup base.
Because it is so much tastier and healthier than anything you can buy in a bottle, I ferment my own the way the original stuff was made.
It is also much cheaper, especially when I have tomatoes from my garden.
It is surprisingly easy to make and because the lacto-fermentation process acts as a preservative it keeps forever.
I use a recipe from Nourishing Traditions, which is a book that I find absolutely indispensable around my kitchen.
Here are the participants in the sauce: 2 cups ketchup (preferably home fermented) 1 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 cup of molasses 1/2 cup of apple cider small onion 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil 1 1/2 tsp salt fresh ground pepper to taste a bunch of fresh thyme leaves I just chop the onion finely and saute in the oil for several minutes on fairly low heat.
Then turn it up to medium add the vinegar and boil it for about 5 minutes to reduce the sauce.
Add the other liquids and spices and simmer for about 10 minutes.
If it is a tad thick I add a little water to thin.
If you make the sauce with lacto-fermented ketchup it will keep in the fridge for months.
Otherwise you can freeze it.
I used to freeze mine and I would take it out and thaw it when needed.
Then I would refreeze it with no noticeable effect on its quality.