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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pork Shoulder Western Style Ribs

A few days ago, I made a trip to Costco to get a few items.  I picked up some fresh tilapia so that I could make some broiled tilapia and I wanted another meat product that I could cook.  I looked at the steak but it was more expensive than I wanted to pay, (help me buy some steak - click some of my sponsors Google ads).  I looked into the pork area and saw something new (at least new to me), they were western style pork shoulder boneless pork ribs.  Not only did they look and sound good, but they were also a great price!

I purchased a package of about six pounds, took it home, and placed it in the refrigerator.  I got out my copy of How to Cook Everything and looked in the index: nothing, no mention of how to cook western style ribs.  So, off I went to check the internet and learned some interesting facts:
1.    The western style boneless ribs are actually pieces of the pork shoulder (Costco had truth in labeling) that are cut into strips to look like ribs. 
2.    They have a similar taste to ribs. 
3.    They are very easy to cook. 
4.    They are very inexpensive to purchase.

I reviewed several recipes and finally used a variation of an article titled: How to cook pork shoulder western ribs in the oven.  Here is the recipe that I used:

  2-3 pounds of western pork ribs
  3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  3 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  3/4 cup brown sugar
  1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  1/4 cup lemon juice (I used bottled lemon juice)
  1 6-ounce can tomato paste (mine was less a tablespoon I used in another recipe)
  1 Tablespoon paprika
  2 teaspoons salt
  1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, I mixed all the ingredients for the marinade (except the pork ribs) until they were combined to make a creamy sauce.  I got out my large glass Pyrex (9 x 13 inch) glass pan and placed as many of the ribs as would comfortably fit into the pan.  Then I poured the entire marinade over the ribs in the pan.  I made sure that some of the marinade was under each piece and all the pieces had a covering of the marinade.  I covered the pan with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator to marinade for twenty-four hours.

The next day I started by heating the oven to 375 degrees in convection mode (400 degrees for non-convection).  I placed a wire rack over our roasting pan and sprayed the wire rack and the roasting pan with cooking spray.  I placed all the rib pieces on the wire rack.  Once the oven was hot, I put the pan with the ribs in the center of the oven to cook for 15 minutes.

After fifteen minutes was over, I turned over all the ribs and placed the pan back in the oven.  Our Electrolux oven has a built in temperature probe, so I inserted the probe into the thickest rib and set the oven to 165 degrees.  That way when the internal temperature of the rib reaches 165, the oven will automatically switch to a keep warm function.  If you don’t have this function, roast the ribs for another 15 minutes.

When the ribs finished cooking, I let them rest for 5 minutes then served with some optional Sweet Baby Rays barbeque sauce on the side.  The marinade made with this recipe has a sweet and tangy taste and doesn’t really need any other sauce.  The ribs were very moist and juicy; some of the very thin edges were darker in color, but not burned.  These shoulder pieces do have some fat that you will have to remove when you eat them, but it was very easy to see and remove.

I am very glad that I sprayed the roasting pan with the cooking spray as it really helped when it was time to clean the pan, we let it soak in a little hot soapy water, and most of the residue washed away.

I will make this recipe again, next time I may try grilling the pieces on indirect heat in the barbeque, though I will make sure to swab them with the marinade several times while cooking to keep them from drying out.  Now I have another three pounds of the raw ribs in the refrigerator for another recipe.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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