Baby Back Ribs with Pomegranate Molasses
So first, I’m going to apologize. I love taking all of the pictures for the site, and I take a lot of care in trying to bring un-stylized, real pictures that showcase what the food’s all about. I was so looking forward to the moment I pulled these tender ribs from the broiler and took the money shot: a whole rack of ribs, glistening and shiny, caramelized from the bbq sauce. I couldn’t wait to post it.
Unfortunately for the photos (but not the deliciousness…), the ribs were literally so tender they fell apart! I ended up with a mouth-watering, caramelized, heap of ribs that required only a fork (but mostly my fingers). I legitimately ate half a rack before I even took the finished picture…
Pomegranate molasses is one of those essential ingredients in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It’s really just pomegranates that have been cooked down in sugar, water, and maybe a bit of lemon juice to form a syrupy concentrate. It’s absolutely delicious in both sweet and savoury applications. Mixed with a bit of sparkling water, it’s a refreshing drink. It can be used in cakes, cookies, mousses, anything. And, also, makes a lovely ingredient for sauces – would go incredibly well with duck and made a really killer bbq sauce here.
It sounds a bit scary, but I wrapped these guys up in plastic wrap and then covered them with foil, cooking them in the oven for about 4 hours at 250° F. A bit of at-home-not-so-sous-vide. But that’s what made them the most tender ribs I’ve ever made. Who needs a grill in a NYC apartment! The pomegranate molasses adds a tart and fruity kick to a really easy bbq sauce and tastes delicious with the dry-rubbed, juicy, falling-off-the-bone ribs. Enjoy!
Yields 4 to 6 servings
2 whole racks baby back ribs (approximately, 5 lbs)
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 tsps ground coriander
1 ½ tbsps garlic powder
1 ½ tbsps onion powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsps Spanish paprika (pimentón)
2 tsps hot Hungarian paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 ½ tbsps packed light brown sugar
3 tbsps butter
2 shallots, fine dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups ketchup
¾ cup water
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsps light brown sugar
4 ½ tbsps pomegranate molasses
½ tbsp lemon juice
¾ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ tsp cayenne
1 ½ tsps Dijon mustard
In a bowl, combine all of the dry rub ingredients and mix well.
Tear two pieces of foil large enough to wrap around each rack of ribs, and place shiny side down on a surface. Tear equal-sized pieces of plastic wrap, and place on top of the foil sheets. Pat dry the ribs, and place each rack on the plastic wrap. Sprinkle both sides of the ribs generously with the dry rub, and pat the dry rub into the meat. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap, followed by the foil. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 1 day in advance.
Preheat the oven to 250° F. Let the ribs come up to room temperature (very important!). Place the foil and plastic-wrapped ribs on baking sheets on the middle rack in the oven, and cook for 4 hours. Remove, and let cool briefly.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and sauté for a few minutes until the shallots are translucent. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook stirring frequently for about 20 minutes.
Turn the oven temperature up to broil. Carefully remove the ribs from the foil and plastic wrap and pour off any accumulated juices. Place back on the backing sheet, baste with the bbq sauce, and broil for 5 to 7 minutes until caramelized.