Tender oven-baked pork ribs marinated in a chili, tomato and olive oil paste will satisfy your barbecue cravings whether you own a grill or not. While a 1/3 of a cup of ground chile may seem like a lot, these ribs are perfectly seasoned and not too spicy. The original recipe called for chile powder, which often has garlic in it, but ground ancho chile pepper works just as well. If you can’t find it, buy whole dried ancho, pasilla or California chilies and grind them yourself. These mild chilies are used in commercial chile powder, so you’ll recognize the taste. To make your own chile powder, toast dried chilies in a heavy skillet until the skin starts to bubble. Break them open and remove the stems, seeds and veins before grinding them in a spice or coffee grinder. Substitute paprika if you can’t find ground ancho chile pepper or whole dried peppers. The flavor isn’t the same, but it will still be delicious, as well as milder for those of you who don’t tolerate spicy food at all.
Most barbecue recipes use onions as well as garlic, but this one doesn’t so fructose malabsorbers can safely eat it. While most people with fructose malabsorption tolerate tomatoes, some are sensitive to large amounts of tomato paste. The recipe calls for a can of tomato paste, about 1 1/2 tablespoons per serving, some of which is wiped off before cooking. The amount per serving is less than a tablespoon, which should be within tolerated limits.
The marinade uses freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest so buy a large orange instead of a carton of juice. Use a grater to remove the zest, then cut the orange in half and squeeze out the juice.
The ribs marinate in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours and will take about an hour and a half to cook. This is a very easy recipe, with a minimal amount of work on the night you make the marinade, and even less on the night you cook the ribs. Pop them in the oven, turn them over once and that’s it till dinner time. Baked potatoes and green beans are perfect accompaniments, time-wise and taste-wise.
Baked Barbecue Pork Ribs
Serves 6, adapted from “Marcia Adams’ Heirloom Recipes”
1/3 cup (39 grams or 80 ml) ground ancho chile pepper
1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) garlic infused olive oil (sauté 4 garlic cloves in oil then toss garlic)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons (20 ml) ground cumin
1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced orange zest
1 tablespoon (15 ml) corn syrup (glucose) or brown rice syrup
1 can (6 ounces or 170 grams) tomato paste
2 teaspoons (10 ml) dried oregano
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pepper
2 racks (about 6 pounds or 2.72 kilos) baby back pork ribs
Find two baking pans large enough to hold the ribs. Line the pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil and set aside. Mix together the ground chile, orange juice, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, orange zest, corn syrup, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Use a sharp knife to cut shallow lines in a cross-hatch pattern across the meaty side of the ribs. If necessary, cut the ribs in half so that they fit into the baking pans. Spread the chile mixture over both sides of the ribs, rubbing it into the cuts. Place the ribs meaty side down in the pans and cover tightly with more foil. Refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. The longer they marinate, the better the flavor.
Preheat the oven to 350° F (176° C) with the rack in the upper 3rd of the oven. Uncover the ribs and wipe off excess marinade with a paper towel. Bake them with the meaty side down for 30 minutes. Turn the ribs over and bake them for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender. Cover them loosely with foil if they get too brown. Let the ribs rest for 10 minutes after removing from the oven. Use a sharp knife to cut the ribs apart before serving.