In season three of the Food Network’s The Next Food Network Star, Rory Schepisi won the Bon Appetit cover challenge for her tender and flavorful baby back ribs. Even though she did not go on to win the contest, her ribs recipe is a winner. Rory has a restaurant called BootHill in Vega, Texas and has appeared on TLC’s Homemade Simple.
We have been making these pork ribs since the first time they appeared in Bon Appetit. The challenge she had in making them was the fact that they usually took her 4 to 5 hours to cook to achieve the tenderness she desired. The Food Network challenge gave her only 2 hours. She met the challenge by braising the ribs in the oven with a little chicken broth before she finished them on the grill. This works to our advantage because I love any recipe that can be partially prepared ahead of time.
The homemade barbecue sauce is based on ketchup with a brown sugar and molasses component. It also can be prepared ahead of time.
The original recipe calls for baby back pork ribs but we always substitute country style ribs because we like the meatiness. Either cut would be great.
The grilled cantaloupe is a unique accompaniment to the ribs. It is grilled briefly and brushed with honey and sprinkled with cayenne.
Now that warm weather has found us at Lake Lure, it is good to fire up the grill again.
RORY’S RIBS WITH GRILLED CANTALOUPE
Barbecue Sauce and Ribs:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 1/4 cups ketchup
1 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
7 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
6 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 large racks baby back pork ribs (each about 2 1/2 pounds)
8 tablespoons chili powder, divided
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Press garlic through garlic press into pan. Stir 30 seconds. Mix in ketchup, 3/4 cup broth, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar, molasses, and vinegar. Bring sauce to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until reduced to 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.
Sprinkle each side of each rib rack with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon chili powder. Arrange 2 rack on each of 2 large roasting pans. Position 1 oven rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third; preheat to 450 degrees F. Pour 1/2 cup of remaining broth and 2 tablespoon of re3maining soy sauce around ribs in each pan; cover each with foil. Bake ribs 30 minutes; reverse sheets. Bake ribs until tender, about 45 minutes longer. Uncover; cool slightly. Cut each rib rack between bones into individual servings. Brush ribs generously with sauce. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill ribs until heated through and slightly charred, turning occasionally and brushing with more sauce, about 10 minutes. Pile ribs on platter.
1 whole cantaloupe, rinsed, cut in half, seeded, each half cut into 1/2-inch slices
Grill cantaloupe slices on 1 side until showing grill marks, about 3 minutes. Mound, grilled side up, on platter. Brush with honey, sprinkle with cayenne.
Here is a picture of the ribs dinner from The Food Network.