With cowboys and their old covered wagons exploring the Wild West; along came the Dutch Oven. Cast iron, durable, pretty much non-stick once seasoned and the true backbone of any camp chefâ€™s arsenal. It can be used over direct fire, on a burner, in a grill or just on the ground. Iâ€™ve had everything from biscuits to cobblers, baked beans to chili, stews to lasagna, all the way to ribs.
But when was the last time you used your Dutch Oven? Or, do you look at those heavy pots and think why would I want that? Well think again.
Itâ€™s all about the coals. Well briquettes that isâ€¦ Depending on your heat source, the easiest way to use a Dutch Oven is to light a pile of briquettes. Once the little cubes of charcoal goodness turn white with a dusting of ash, place between 10-12 underneath the Dutch Oven and another 6-8 on top of the lid. Then just let it sit, checking the coals every 45-60 minutes, adding freshly lit briquettes.
Beer Braised Pork Spare Ribs
Lots of room for variations on this recipe. Donâ€™t just think of ribs and BBQ sauce. As there is no smoke in this cooking technique, these ribs are not authentic BBQ. Yet, why just think of BBQ sauce and beer to braise ribs in? Why not experiment and try Buffalo Wing sauce instead? If itâ€™s good on those little drumettes, then think what it could do to a pork rib? Hungry?
Serves: 6-8 as a main course or 10-12 as an appetizer
4-5 pounds pork spare ribs, separated into individual ribssea salt and black pepper to taste
1 recipe sauce: either Red Eye Imperial Stout BBQ or Chili Beer Wing Sauce
2-3 pints homebrewed beer: Imperial Stout or Chili Beer
1 bottle boring store bought bbq sauce
2-3 pints homebrewed beer: think Brown Ale, Stout, Pale, Amber or what you have on tap
Take the pork spare ribs and rinse them well under cold water. Pat dry with several paper towels. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place into a Dutch Oven, layering to make them fit into either a 8 or 10 quart oven. Pour sauce of choice over the ribs, moving the ribs slightly, making sure that the sauce has spread evenly over all the meat. If the level of the sauce does not cover the meat, add enough of the same beer being used to cover. Seal with the lid and place 10-12 underneath the Dutch Oven and another 6-8 on top of the lid. Then just let it sit, checking the coals every 45-60 minutes, adding freshly lit briquettes. This style of rib takes between 3-4 hours to be falling off the bone tender.
Once the ribs are done (not completely falling off the bone, but will give if pulled on) remove the Dutch Oven from the coals. Have a small fire going, with a grill to quickly mark the ribs and caramelize the sauce onto the ribs. Add ribs to the grill, this will take about 3-5 minutes a side. Meanwhile, the remaining sauce in the Dutch Oven is a perfect sauce for the finished ribs. To thicken it up, place the Dutch Oven over a burner and reduce by one third to get a nice stick to the back of a spoon consistence. Stir often to avoid anything burning on the bottom of the oven. Serve the sauce in a bowl or shot glasses! (Itâ€™s that good!) Remove the ribs from the grill and serve immediately.
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