Recently, I made dinner for my friend Staci*, who’d just had her third baby. One of the dishes I brought her was what I like to call Ridiculous Ribs. Why are they ridiculous? Well, they’re insanely, unbelievably easy to make. These ribs are so mouthwateringly delicious that they just seem like they’d require more ingredients and effort. When I first read about these on a parenting board, I scoffed. Then I made them and scoffed no more.
When Staci thanked me for the meal the next day and asked for the ribs recipe, I was almost too embarrassed to admit how easy it was. I briefly considered whether, for the sake of preserving my reputation as someone who actually likes to cook from scratch, I should tell her it’s a heavily-guarded secret family recipe. I figured I should pass on this knowledge to a fellow busy mom. So, here’s what you need to make Ridiculous Ribs. Are you ready?
Yes, that’s right. One rack of pork babyback ribs, cut into sections of three or four individual ribs each, one bottle of any barbecue sauce you like, and one slow cooker. That’s it. Previously frozen ribs are fine, too. In fact, when ribs go on sale at the market, I stock up and store a few racks in the freezer. (And yes, that is Derek’s prized picture of Plex on the counter.) So, all you do is:
Dump the entire bottle of sauce into the slow cooker.
Place the rib sections meaty side-down in the sauce. Some overlap is fine, but make sure as much of the meat is touching the sauce as possible. With my slow cooker, which is short but wide, I can fit one rack of ribs with little overlap or two with more overlap.
Cook on low for eight hours.
Serve with a couple of side dishes and tell your dinner guests that you had to cook this ALL DAY.
I know there are more sophisticated ways to make ribs, and I’m not saying these are better, but hell, they’re just so easy. And so good.
For tonight’s sides, I roasted some golden, red and purple baby potatoes (scrubbed and dried potatoes, tossed them in a baking pan with two cloves of minced garlic, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, then put them in a 425-degree oven for 30 minutes) and steamed some broccoli and cauliflower. To assemble the boys’ plates, I took the meat off the bone and shredded it. Correction: I held a rib over the plate and watched the meat literally slide off the bone, then mashed the meat gently with a fork to break it apart. The meat is that tender and juicy after cooking. Also, I realized after the fact that the border design of this partitioned plate looks a lot like a dog food bowl. Sorry!
The hardest thing about this meal is the washing of the slow cooker insert. Seriously! And hey, I don’t even have to do that tonight — I’m going to go on an evening run while my husband finishes clean-up duty. Score!
*By the way, for any moms in the South Bay area, I just have to put out a totally unsolicited word for Staci, who happens to be an amazing family photographer. She took the picture I have on my About page. If you’ve been thinking about taking family photos, visit Staci’s Web site.