Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Rib-off Competition with Chef Leigh (Recipe included)

I have been waiting for this moment for well over a year. An opportunity to have a Rib-off with my friend and Chef, Leigh. I just needed to find a time that would suit Leigh's busy restaurant schedule and my cleaning schedule free time. In the end his partner (and my hair dresser) Leanne was the one who came through and matched a time for this huge event to happen.

Every great Rib-off competition should begin with some excellent trash talking.
First publicly on Facebook and then privately of course by text message.

When it was all said and done and we were sitting next to each other eating - the trash talking died right down. I know, so disappointing. You were expecting the usual drama from me. But wait, here it comes, (as I bravely hide from Leigh behind my keyboard)...
 I don't know if I felt sympathy or disappointment when tasting Leigh's ribs. They were tasty -yes, but I expected more. In my mind I pictured myself going up against the Iron Chef of my life. I could make excuses for him and say in all fairness that because Leigh didn't get off work until 4pm yesterday, and had to scramble to buy the ribs, make the sauce and get them in the oven, that his ribs didn't stand a chance against the greatness of mine. You could say that using a foreign oven threw him off. Whatever the case, the battle I had been expecting now did not seem like a fair fight. But here's the deal. I'm organised. I went into battle organised. Leigh did not. He had 3.5 days warning about our rib-off (same as me) and still left it until the last minute to get his shit together. It's no one's fault but his own that he stood in my kitchen shaking his head at his ribs saying "I'm really not happy with that," like a humbled MKR contestant.

I, on the other hand, was on a high. This sassy stay at home cook sat quietly, listening to her chef friend throw out statements between bites like "Mmmmm these are lovely, Jess." And "these are really good." Gobble, Gobble. "I love the smokiness of these." "I got to hand it to you." "You're a winner, Jess." Marry me, Jess." "You should come work for me." "I worship at your throne, oh holiness." "Oh,I think I just came." And so on and so on. (I may have over exaggerated a little towards the end there but we all know he was thinking it). We all know who the winner was. Even my husband, the Chairman of the Rib-off Stadium, (who would love me to lose at something), had to admit that my cuisine reigned supreme.

The recipe for my Bottom Spanking Ribs is below. You got your bottom spanked by Peachy Keen Mumma, Leigh. Sorry, not sorry. Until next time friend (can I still call you that)?

Let's get it on
Serves 4

4 racks pork spare ribs - I buy mine from Jim at the Wootton Valley Meat at the Newcastle Farmer's Market. They're usually the best value for money and I like how he talks about the humane treatment of his animals. Don't use beef ribs for this because it's just no where near as good
¾ cup barbecue sauce
¾ cup ketchup - I'm definitely bias to Heinz for their flavour
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce - Easily found in the asian section of the grocery store
1-2 tablespoons of hot sauce - I use Frank's Red found at Woolies but you could also use siraccha - which is way hotter
2 minced garlic cloves - I only use garlic powder if I know I'll have left over sauce. I store the left over sauce in an old, but clean, BBQ sauce bottle for next time.
¼ cup of golden syrup - or corn syrup, which I never use but you can if you like it
3 Tablespoons of liquid smoke  or to taste. - This time I used Wright's Applewood,  but I prefer hickory as the smoke flavour is stronger and not as sweet. There is also a Mesquite flavour. They can be purchased locally at Bibina. Otherwise you can probably find it at any bulk or speciality supply food store.

1. Put all the ingredients but the ribs in a bowl and mix thoroughly to make the sauce.

2. I put these ribs in my slow cooker for about 8 hours on low but you can do 4-6 on high if that's your preference. That means getting your shit together in the morning by having the ribs thawed and the sauce made. I rub the ribs with a quarter to half the sauce. It just depends on how big the racks are, and how much sauce you want left over for putting them under the grill later, plus having some left over for next time. Sometimes I just want them extra saucy and use up all the sauce in one ribbing.

3. Heat the grill about 20 minutes before the slow cooker is due to finish to 200c. When they are done, transfer the ribs to a foil and baking paper lined cookie sheet. Coat each rack evenly with more sauce. Stick under the grill for about 15 minutes or until they have a caramelised look or are bubbling a little bit on top.

Ready to eat those bottom spanking ribs
4. Serve with corn on the cob, greens beans and baked potatoes. Or with a potato salad like Leigh made for his ribs below.  Whatever you'd like to have as a side really. We don't usually have much room left  in our bellies for sides so we just eat  green beans most of the time.
Leigh's losing dry roasted then braised ribs - served with winning chipotle potato salad
"My baby back ribs...Git in my belly!"

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