Let me share with you a little known fact about me ... cooking with meat terrifies me. It took me years, and I mean YEARS, before I touched ground beef and it was only recently that I made my way into beef strips territory. There's just something about the texture of raw meat and its creepy looking shade of red that grosses me right out. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy eating it, I just hate having to cook with it. So cooking ribs? Not exactly my idea of a good time.
There were two main reasons why ribs made it onto my culinary goals list. 1) I was craving them when I was jotting down my plans for autumn and 2) Ribs taste darn good, but they're pricey to buy in restaurants so we don't eat them often. I figured if I could master the art of ribs at home, we could eat them whenever we wanted without each having to pay $15+ to order them in a restaurant.
Cooking ribs, it turns out, was a bit of an ordeal. First I had to actually find the ribs ... believe it or not, it took me three stores! I finally made it home with these ... yuck, raw meat, I shiver just looking at this photo ...
The Betty Crocker recipe I had decided to use said it served six people. My husband and I can eat a lot, but we definitely cannot eat six servings of ribs, so I decided to invite my best friend over to join us for dinner. Once she accepted the invitation, I got to work.
First I made the molasses sauce. Molasses. Ha. Let's talk about that, shall we? Apparently, much like ribs, molasses is impossible to find in this city!! I scoured the grocery shops looking for that little brown and yellow carton of molasses I vaguely remember seeing my mom use to make gingerbread cookies. I couldn't find it anywhere. When I asked the cashier to point me in the right direction, he led me to this:
Have you ever seen molasses that looks like this?? I certainly haven't. No wonder I walked by it fifteen times. Sheesh.
Making the molasses sauce was easy - you just mix 1/2 cup of molasses, 1/3 cup of dijon mustard and 1/3 cup of white vinegar in a bowl. Once the sauce is done, you just set it aside and separate the ribs into serving pieces (I did 3 ribs each but you can divvy them up however you see fit). Place the ribs in a shallow roasting pan. Bake the ribs uncovered for one hour at 350 degrees, then brush generously with the molasses sauce. Bake for another 45 minutes, brushing frequently (I did every 10 minutes).
So how did my ribs turn out? Not bad. They were edible, which has to count for something. And they smelled good, so that was a bonus. They were a little on the dry/crispy side ... next time, I'll probably cook them for an hour and twenty-five minutes or so, instead of an hour and forty-five minutes. Also, the molasses sauce was REALLY pungent. I'll probably cut back on the amount of molasses I use next time I whip these up. And yes, there will be a next time. Ribs aren't so scary once you get to know them.
All in all, I'd give this meal 3 stars out of 5 ... not bad for my first attempt. Not bad at all. :)