It’s another week of the Holiday Recipe Exchange from My Baking Addiction and Good Life Eats. Next week’s exchange theme is Crock Pot recipes sponsored by West Bend, and while this post is a little early I figured it’d be okay…any crock pot food is good crock pot food, right?
Back in the day my mother used to make amazing boneless crock pot BBQ ribs. In her fabulous 70s-style burnt orange crock pot she made delicious ribs with nothing but meat, store-bought BBQ sauce, and onions. It was a joy to behold. I’ve been hankering for those ribs for years…and this week was their time! I invited some friends over and started with the cooking.
Unlike my mother’s BBQ, I opted not to cook the ribs with the sauce, but rather to drizzle it over top after cooking the ribs all by their lonesome (I believe this is called “Carolina style”?). This may have been a stylistic choice, or it may have been because I fell asleep on my couch instead of making the sauce the night before. But who’s counting?
In order to make this a little more interesting than “put ribs in crock pot, pour store-bought BBQ sauce over top” I went for the new challenge of making my own sauce. I’ve never done this before, so I did a little bit of research to figure out what they’re typically composed of and what other sauces use as ingredients. In the end I decided to go for something sweet and a little smokey, and too my delight it turned out wonderfully!
Basically, BBQ sauce is composed of a typically-tomato base, and then a mixture of acids and spices. Because I was going sweet for this recipe I decided to use a cider vinegar for my acidity and then mix in brown sugar as well. The flavors blended nicely. I also actually added a dried chipotle pepper into the mix hoping that it’d add a nice subtle smokey flavor to the whole thing, but if it added any flavor it was pretty well overwhelmed by everything else. Perhaps for a future experiment.
The pork itself I didn’t neglect either. Before dumping them into the crock pot for a nice slow cookin’, they all got rubbed/sprinkled with salt, black pepper, Hungarian paprika, and a drizzle of olive oil. The meat by itself was delicious. I’ve found it’s almost impossible to find ribs without bones these days so we (my party and I) had to do a little picking as we ate, but in my opinion it was worth it. Hopefully in theirs as well.
Oh, and for any health-conscious people out there reading this, fear not! We ate roasted green beans with our meal which were equally delicious (in fact, I wish I’d made more!). If you like vegetarian recipes I highly recommend the Moosewood Cookbook, a book full of vegetarian meals, sides, dips, and sauces. The recipe I used had me lightly covering the beans in balsamic vinegar before serving…and wow that was a super combination I’d never have thought up on my own. Here here!
Anyway, if you like a sweet, slightly tangy BBQ sauce, I recommend this stuff. I only drizzled it over top of the meat, but I bet it’d taste great cooked with the meat as well. Have at it!
Thanks to Emily for taking the BBQ photos!
Makes ~ 2 1/2 cups of sauce.
1. Mix all ingredients into a saucepan.
2. Heat on medium-low heat for 30-45 minutes. Make sure the brown sugar melts. Be careful of bubbling/splashing!
3. CONSUME (preferably with meat)!