We tend to think of ribs as a barbecue classic, but actually, as anyone who’s ever found themselves still desperately chewing on one long after even the wasps have given up on the party, this is a myth. Or at least, something that’s been lost in transatlantic translation. Racks of ribs are a speciality of southern barbecue food, cooked long and slow in a pit as opposed to British barbecue, which refers to food cooked very quickly over a hot grill. (To underline the difference, you’d be hard pushed to burn a sausage on the former.) You’re better off cooking your ribs, a cut of meat which, with its sinew and its fat, demands more than a token toasting, in the oven – something which suits the British summer down to the ground.
This recipe is perfect for stunning comfort food anytime of the year. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed..
2 racks baby back pork rib (ask your butcher to prepare this for you)
2 cans of cola
2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds
For the sauce
8 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
8 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 heaped teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan and snugly fit the ribs into a roasting tin. Pour over the cola and enough water to cover the ribs, then cover the tin tightly with foil. Roast for 2-3 hrs, turning halfway through, until the ribs are really tender but not falling apart.
Meanwhile, put all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Gently heat, then bubble for about 2 mins, stirring continually.
When the ribs are done, carefully lift each out of the tin and sit on kitchen paper to dry. Tip away the liquid and wipe out the tin. Put the dry ribs back in the tin and coat all over with the sticky sauce. Cover and chill overnight.
Heat your oven to 220C/200C/fan. Add the ribs to a roasting tin and cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, and basting regularly with the remaining sauce.
When the ribs are sticky, hot and crisping on the outside, slice and serve.
Scatter with sesame seeds, if you like, and plate up with any remaining warmed sticky sauce.