Lilly Higgins: Baked barbecue ribs with corn on the cob

These delicious ribs are ready in less than an hour

A lip-smacking dish

A lip-smacking dish

 

Despite my best efforts, my children have become carnivorous beasties. It seemed to happen overnight. One day they were delighted to see tomato pilaf for dinner, the next they were fighting tooth and nail over the last chicken leg; and then came the sobbing over the fact that chickens only have two legs.

I thought it was their infatuation with dinosaurs that led to their need to eat anything that looks like a drumstick, like real cave men eating real food.

I think it is nature over nurture; it is in their DNA. They eat meat-free most days, but when a rack of ribs is on the table all hell breaks loose. They love them.

In an effort to appeal to their humane side, and to keep them educated about where their food comes from, we had a loose chat about beef being cows, pork being pigs and so on – but it only intrigued them and brought up questions about sausage dogs.

A few days later, looking at lambs in a field nearby, my youngest son asked his brother which one he would like to eat. So I am now resigned to the fact that they love meat, and I will try to incorporate it more for them.

We didn’t eat meat every day as children, and there are so many other options. I think that balance is key and that it’s not healthy to cut out any particular group of food, especially where children are concerned. Unless, of course, they is have an intolerance. Children need to be introduced to a broad range of ingredients and encouraged to try everything at least once.

Having said all that, here is my delicious ribs recipe. I love serving these ribs with corn on the cob. I cook the corn in water first, then colour it on a pan with butter. You could add a pinch of chili powder or something sweet such as maple syrup to encourage it to caramelise even more.

There are two options when cooking these ribs. You can choose the low-and-slow option in the oven for six to seven hours at 110 degrees, so that the meat is falling off the bone and incredibly succulent, or choose the speedier midweek option I have written about below. Both are lovely, of course, but the slow-cooked version has that meat-falling-off- the-bone factor.

You can also use the slow cooker. Layer the ribs, covered in the sauce, and cook for several hours, then finish off in the oven at a high heat to get a crisp finish.

Or, you could cook these on a barbecue. Whatever way you choose to go, this sauce with those ribs will be delicious.

Baked potatoes and coleslaw are a natural choice to serve alongside the ribs. Baked sweet potatoes or salad are perfect too. I’m serving homemade sauerkraut with everything lately, and it is great with these ribs.

This isn’t first-date food – it is messy to eat, so best eaten in the comfort of your own home. Place bowls of warm water and lemon on the table so everyone can wash their fingers.

BAKED BARBECUE RIBS: SERVES 6

Ingredients

  • 2 x 1.3kg racks of meaty pork ribs

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 250ml tomato ketchup
  • 80g dark brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tbs cider vinegar
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • ½tsp dried oregano or thyme
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-6 corn on the cob, cut in half or served whole

To serve:

  • Salad
  • Coleslaw or sauerkraut
  • Baked potatoes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix all the sauce ingredients together. Place the ribs in a large roasting tin and pour the sauce over them. Ensure they are completely covered. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning after 20 minutes, until charred and sticky.

Meanwhile boil the corn in plenty of water. Drain once done. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the corn cobs to the pan and colour over a high heat, tossing and coating the corn in the butter. When they’re nicely coloured, with the ribs.

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