A Ribby Christmas

Hot off the grill and ready for the table

This past Christmas we decided to do a little something different. None of us really felt like eating roast beef or wanted to make a fish soup. But all of us were in agreement that ribs sounded outstanding.

I have a great recipe a friend gave to me over the summer. The ribs have a definite Asian influence, made with ginger, soy sauce, orange juice, and ginger ale. We decided to pair the ribs with some down home favorites: mac & cheese, baked beans, sweet potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, and a carrot cake for dessert. The adults seemed as happy as the kids for this unusual holiday meal. See my favorite recipe below. Even the non-rib eaters gave it a double thumbs up.

My plate piled high and clean.

A shot of the marinade for the ribs cooking

Our Favorite Ribs

6 servings

14 large garlic cloves—8 peeled and smashed, 6 minced

1/2 cup sliced fresh ginger plus 1/4 cup minced (6
ounces total)

6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts

4 star anise pods

3 cups soy sauce

2 quarts water

2 cups ginger ale

1/2 cup dry white wine

Strips of zest and juice from 1 navel orange

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup cilantro stems plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped

3 racks of baby back ribs (5 1/2 pounds)

2 cups lightly packed brown sugar

1 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan,
combine the smashed garlic with the sliced ginger,
scallion whites, star anise, 1 1/2 cups of the soy
sauce, the water, ginger ale, white wine, orange zest
and juice, granulated sugar and cilantro stems. Set
the pan over 2 burners and bring to a boil over
moderately high heat.

Add the baby back ribs to the roasting pan, cover
tightly with foil and bake for about 2 hours, or until
the ribs are very tender. Let cool to room
temperature, then spread the ribs out in a single
layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled
and firm, about 30 minutes. Discard the braising

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the
vegetable oil. Add the minced garlic and ginger and
the scallion greens and cook over moderately high
heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add
the remaining 1 1/2 cups of soy sauce, the brown
sugar, ketchup and crushed red pepper and bring to a
boil. Cook over moderately high heat for 3 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add
the chopped cilantro. Transfer the rib sauce to cooled ribs.

Finish off the ribs on the grills for about 15 minutes. Let them get a healthy coating of crust.Pile on a platter and serve hot.

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