Spareribs Spike Up Your Super Bowl Party
A few years ago, I was a judge at a ribs contest in Cleveland. (Did you know that Cleveland was the sparerib capital of the world? Well, it isn’t.) “Just nibble,” the officials told us sternly. “Don’t eat a whole rib, or you won’t get through all of them.” I blithely ignored these instructions. Twenty ribs later, I was 100% full, and I still had 22 ribs ahead of me. What had started out as fun became a test of endurance. What had started out as a romp became a walk, and then a trudge, and then a full-out collapse.
But the contest did turn me into a rib expert, which is how I know that ribs are the perfect food for the Super Bowl. Football players are big guys. Sending support to a whole team is a job that needs major sustenance. (Ribs are major sustenance. Check!) And you can’t use utensils, because you might need to clap or cover your eyes. (Check!) And if your team is down, you need comfort and deliciousness. (Check!) And you need traditional manly food, even if you’re a woman. (Double-check!)
As I write this, it’s two degrees below zero outside, which brings up the subject of the grill that’s out on your patio under a blanket of snow. Grilling spareribs for at least part of their cooking time is ideal, but let’s not be crazy. You don’t want want to be standing at a grill in the middle of a blizzard while all your friends are cozily watching TV inside. All the recipes below — even the ones that call for grilling — can be baked in the oven. They’ll still be delicious, and you won’t have to miss any of the action. Or the commercials.
Cooking ribs is a two -step process: First you ensure that the meat becomes moist, and then you caramelize the outside. Classic ribs shouldn’t see barbecue sauce until the last few minutes. And that’s how we do it around the chuck wagon!
Start marinating these Asian-inspired ribs a day (or two) before you cook them. The ingredients are available at most supermarkets; you can also order the chili sauce from Amazon and other websites.
These sweet, glazed, sticky ribs are irresistable–and ridiculously easy to make. Parboiling tenderizes the meat and shortens the cooking time
Speaking of easy: A slow-cooker is a natural for ribs, which need low heat to keep from drying out. Here’s a simple, popular recipe that will give you enough meat for sandwiches the day after your Super Bowl party.
Beer and the Super Bowl are a natural pair, right? So these ribs, bathed in stout and honey mustard, will fit right in. The slightly bitter stout is a natural foil for the rich meat.
It would be un-American for a collection of rib recipes not to include one that’s soda-based. Luckily, this recipe is highly worthwhile. The Dr. Pepper imparts a touch of sweetness and a nice caramel color without overwhelming the meat. Note that this recipe calls for one exotic ingredient: molasses powder. (Click here for a source.) No one will put you in jail if you skip it — but it’s well worth the effort to track it down.
How strange to remember the dark ages when we didn’t know about dry rubs. Like liquid marinades, dry rubs permeate the meat with flavor. But they also create a delicious crust as the ribs cook. If you’ve got the time, pat on the dry rub, wrap the ribs tightly in plastic wrap, and stick them in the fridge for up to 48 hours before cooking.
Let’s hear it for smoked paprika! It’s made from bright-red pimiento peppers that are literally smoked before being ground. (Be sure to use sweet smoked paprika, not hot.) A full cup of honey, spiked with sherry, is the foundation of the glaze lacquering these riblets. (Be sure to use dry sherry, not sweet.)
I can’t get over the idea of a rib recipe with bacon in it–it seems so over-the-top. But this is a seriously good recipe. If you’ve got grill experience and plenty of time, these are the ribs to make. You might even consider entering them in a rib contest.
Kick off the Big Game with all kinds of great Supper Bowl Party Recipes!