Saturday, August 30, 2014

Celebrating Local NC Food: Baby Back Ribs with the NC Pork Council

This month's signature cut with the NC Pork Council is RIBS! OTHER than my husband (who isn't a fan of any meat on the bone....I know... I have no idea...???)... WHO doesn't love ribs?

I love them! And honestly, I don't make them as often as I should. Especially in the summer, as ribs just seem like the ideal hot summer meal.

I've chosen my slow cooker as my cooking element of choice for these recipes with the pork council! I love using a slow cooker, it's so easy and since we don't grill out much, it's a great option. Also, proteins are not my cooking specialty and it seems like whenever I go the easy route and make them in the slow cooker, they're always perfect!

When I think of ribs, I generally think of savory, crispy pork slathered in a tangy barbecue sauce. I didn't have any barbecue sauce on-hand and I wanted to go in a different direction. I wanted to do something with an Asian flavor, so I started looking up recipes in my cookbooks at home.

I ran across a recipe in "The Food Lover's Make it Paleo" cookbook by Bill Staley and Haley Mason. The recipe sounded good to me because it had Asian flavors, but also didn't use soy sauce, which is really helpful since I'm allergic to soy.

I changed the recipe a bit, just adding several additional spices that we enjoy. You basically make an easy rub for the ribs and then several hours into slow cooking you drizzle a sesame ginger glaze over them.

The ribs caramelize will then caramelize a bit and with the fat that cooks through, they have a wonderful flavor and texture. When they have finished cooking they are fall-off-the-bone delicious. We served the ribs with slow cooked collard greens &amp (made in another slow cooker) and cinnamon sugar sweet potatoes, which I covered in foil and placed beneath the ribs. The sweet potatoes cooked right underneath the ribs, a technique I love using with root vegetables and even ears of corn. (You can find both of those recipes in my Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook.)

That's another fun thing about using a slow cooker, you can cook several components of a meal in addition to one-dish meals! Super easy peasy and kinda fun as well!

Slow Cooked Chinese Spiced Ribs
adapted from a recipe in "The Food Lover's Make it Paleo" by Bill Staley and Haley Mason
free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, and nuts
printer-friendly recipe

Rub Ingredients: 
  • 3-5 pounds baby back ribs
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar or crystallized maple sugar or coconut palm sugar
Glaze Ingredients: 
  • 3-4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos (a savory substitute for soy sauce, if you're cool with soy, use GF soy sauce!)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger root, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses or brown sugar
  1. In a large bowl of a bag mix together Chinese five-spice powder, curry powder, ground ginger, ground cardamom, Saigon cinnamon, and brown sugar. 
  2. Pat the rub generously over the baby back ribs, that have been cut into portions. Place the ribs into a greased 4-6 quart slow cooker and cook on LOW heat for 4-5 hours. (Alternately, you can cook on HIGH for 2 hours)
  3. Around the 4-5 hour mark mix the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Pour evenly over the ribs and continue to cook ribs another 2-3 hours on low heat. (Alternately, IF you are cooking on HIGH heat, around the 2-3 hour mark, mix the glaze together, pour over ribs and cook an additional 2 hours on HIGH heat.)
  4. When ready to serve, cut slow cooker off and allow ribs to cool for 30 minutes before serving. We served with slow cooked collard greens and cinnamon-sugar sweet potatoes. 

Previous Posts written in conjunction with the NC Pork Council

GLG Disclosure: 
This post is part of a new monthly series featuring local NC pork products sponsored by the North Carolina Pork CouncilThe NC Pork Council provided me with a gift certificate to purchase pork products and create a recipe to share. The opinions and photography in this post are completely my own.

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