Cheatin’ Feels So Good and Other Lessons from the Kitchen
by Kitch Coquette
I’m a big proponent of cheating. It feels so good, and a girl’s got to do, what a girl’s got to do. But, before you write me off as a harlot and before my husband files for divorce, let me qualify that statement. I love to cheat when it comes to cooking. My marriage is safe and sound.
So I have a confession — five years ago, I would buy food from different restaurants, plate them on fancy porcelain dishes, sprinkle parsley and other decorative herbs on top, and serve them as a home cooked meal. Then, I would unabashedly sit at the head of my table glowing with pride as my guests fawned over my amazing cooking. Somehow I considered myself quite the chef, despite the to-go boxes strategically buried at the bottom of my trash can.
Unfortunately, I had to stop cheating when I started dating my husband. Turns out that my goody-two-shoes husband loves to cook. He thought our cooking dates were romantic. I saw them as oppressive kitchen supervision. I could no longer sneak in pre-packaged foods without Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes finding out. I had to make a choice. Reveal myself as a fraud, or become a real cook. So I started cooking.
Today, I love to cook, but I haven’t completely given up my cheatin’ ways. My new found forum for fraudulent cooking is the backyard grill. I’ll level with you. I’m scared to death of that big, menacing grill. First, there are open flames. That’s bad enough. Second, there are mosquitoes and other bugs. Third, did I mention the flames? But I’ve figured a way to use my indoor cooking skills to make me look like a grill master.
This month’s recipe is Cheatin’ Feels So Good, Baby Back Ribs. I’ve served these at countless backyard barbeques. I braise them in the oven for most of the day. Then, just as guests arrive, I throw the meat on the grill for a few minutes to caramelize the barbeque sauce and make it look like I’ve been out there for most of the afternoon. People never expect to see a woman grilling, and in my experience, it usually draws a crowd. They’ll think you are superwoman!
I’ve had men who are barbeque experts beg for this recipe. They can’t figure out how I get the ribs so tender and smoky (I use liquid smoke). And I’ve even overheard a few of them congratulate my husband because they assume he must have taught “his woman” how to use the grill. When my sweet Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes looks like he is about to divulge my secret, I just give him the evil eye (ladies you know what I’m talking about). And when the evil eye doesn’t work, I buy him off with my homemade chocolate chip-toffee cookies. So far, my secret has been kept safe. Now, I just have to keep the rest of y’all quiet. Food bribes will be offered.
Cheatin’ Feels So Good, Baby Back Ribs
Makes 8-10 Servings
What you need:
3 racks of baby back ribs (membrane removed from back)
Dry rub for grilling meat (I like Salt Lick’s Dry Rub because it is spicy)
BBQ Sauce (I like most types of Kansas City-style BBQ sauces)
Pam Oil Spray
Large disposable aluminum baking pan (big enough to hold 3 racks of baby back ribs)
Heavy duty aluminum foil
Standard Charcoal Grill
Grill topper or grate that has small openings (usually used for cooking veggies on grill)
(You can usually find disposable ones at Sam’s or Wal-Mart, but you can also find them online)
NOTE: You are NOT going to use the entire bottle of any of these ingredients, but I would get a full bottle regardless (or have close to a full bottle). I don’t provide exact measurements because you really can’t mess up this recipe. Just use your judgment and work within the parameters of the recipe. Trust yourself.
What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Cut each rack in half between the bones and lay inside the aluminum baking pan.
3. Rub each piece of meat (all sides) with a liberal amount of Worcestershire Sauce. Add and rub in a few drops of liquid smoke on each piece.
4. Liberally shake the dry rub on the top and bottom of each piece of meat until fully covered.
5. Seal ribs inside baking pan with aluminum foil and cook for 6 hours. Upon completion, open the aluminum foil and drain the excess liquid into the sink. Set aside. If you don’t want to use the grill, you can just toss meat with warm BBQ sauce. It will look messy because the meat will fall off the bone, but it will still be delicious.
6. Set up the grill — Remove the top metal portion of the grill, and pour enough charcoal into the bottom of the grill so that there is a single layer of charcoal. Using your hands, pile the charcoal into a squat pyramid in the center of the grill. Light the charcoal and let burn until the briquettes are covered with a white ash (about 10-15 minutes). Use tongs to spread the ashy briquettes back into a single layer, then return the top grate to the grill. Close the top of the grill for a few minutes to get the grill nice and hot.
7. Spray the top of the grill topper with PAM (away from the flame) and place in the center of the grill. Using your tongs, carefully place the ribs on the grill topper (they are so fall-of-the-bone tender that if you are not careful they will just fall apart). Baste each piece of meat liberally with the barbeque sauce. Carefully turn the ribs over with your tongs and grill until the sauce becomes bubbly, thick, and a little charred. Remember, you aren’t cooking the ribs, you are just cooking the sauce onto the ribs. This should only take a few minutes. Baste the other side, flip, and cook again until all sides are sticky and yummy looking.
8. Transfer to a serving plate and serve warm. Enjoy!
Kitch Coquette has recently abandoned her passions for wrestling bayou alligators and designing stylish window treatments for her time machine. She now exclusively focuses her efforts on creating amazing, life-altering food.
Looking for a fabulous dessert to serve with the ribs? Try Cora’s Sponge Cake