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~ Broiled & Baked: K.C. BBQ'D Country-Style Ribs (Pantry Cooking: Kid friendly and mother approved!) ~

IMG_5391Just because it is the end of February does not mean Spring is right around the corner. Especially this year.  Unlike Winters of the recent past, this one's agenda has been brutal, with 8"-16" of snow in our current forecast for this Sunday (March 2nd).  I can live with old man Winter.  It's easy to do from the inside looking out, but, sometimes I yearn for the taste of a grilled rib or a piece of chicken dripping with red, ketchup-y sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. Note: Joe is no slouch.  He never puts our grill away for the Winter, and, has always managed to delcare a couple of sunny 35-38 degree days "grillin' day's".  Not this year.  Not once.  Period.

Having lived in Pennsylvania my entire life, like a lot of creative cooks, I've got ways to circumvent the weather.  While nothing would bring splendor to the table right now like hot-off-the grill chicken, steak or ribs, that's just not possible and whining about it won't make it so.  Over the years, I've developed a few recipes to "tide us over"... until kinder, gentler weather arrives...  

IMG_5615... but, this recipe has nothing to do with inclement weather!  

IMG_4945 IMG_4953These are bone-in country-style ribs.  They are taken from the rib end of the pork loin, and, like babyback ribs they are fatty and flavorful.  Unlike babyback ribs, they are very meaty. While both babybacks and country-style ribs are suited perfectly for the dry, high heat of the grill, country-style ribs take to the oven like ducks to water.  I love them, but, more importantly, so does my family.

It came about by accident -- a very Happy Valley accident!  

IMG_5446It was back in the mid 1980's.  I arrived home to discover a package of country-style ribs, instead of my pork chops, in one of my grocery bags -- I had never cooked them before and there was no time to return them.  I had three elementary school-aged boys coming through the door at 3:30PM, and, two of them had to be fed and back out the door to "activities" by 5:30PM.  

C0fc10e9d129b3a484a327838a775a04How did this happen?  O.W. Houts & Sons, founded in 1920, was a family-owned gourmet grocery store and butcher shop + a furniture/harware store, lumber yard and garden center.  All of State College got teary-eyed the day they closed their doors.  For us locals, it was the day the music died!

O.W. Houts & Sons rocked!

They had a large, square (four-sided) checkout counter with one cash register.  As customers shopped, they built a "pile of their stuff" anywhere on the counter -- right next to someone elses "pile of stuff".  Everyone had a pile with no fence around it or divider between it.   No one stood in line.  As people finished shopping they got checked out in that order, so, piles of stuff were always being pushed and shuffled.  I got ribs, someone else got pork chops -- no big deal!

IMG_5221I did what good mom's do best.  I improvised.  I arranged:

3 1/2-4  pounds country-style ribs

in two 13" x 9" x 2" baking dishes that I'd sprayed with:

no-stick cooking spray.

Then, I topped the ribs with:

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend.

IMG_5250 IMG_5260 IMG_5267 IMG_5274




IMG_5283As pictured above, I preheated my broiler with the oven rack positioned 6" underneath the heat and broiled them for 15 minutes.  I removed them from the oven, flipped them over onto their second sides, gave them another grinding of salt and pepper and placed them back under the broiler for another 15 minutes.  Lastly, I drizzled 

2, 12 1/2-ounce bottles of BBQ sauce, one bottle over each dish.

Nowadays I make my own sauce. Just click on the Related Article link below to get my recipe for ~ Kansas City BBQ Sauce:  Sweet, Spicy & Smoky ~.

IMG_5355 IMG_5338Lastly, I covered the dishes with aluminum foil,  reset my oven to 350 degrees and baked them for 30 minutes.  After that,  I uncovered them, reset to back to broil again and gave them one last 5 minutes under the broiler, until they just started to brown on the surface.

 While the ribs were baking, I used the time to cook a 1 pound bag of "spicy rice".


My kids grew up loving a Spanish rice mix made by Vigo.  Whenever I served it, they didn't need to be called twice to the table.  I always added some red pepper flakes to it and they affectionately named it "spicy rice".  This rice mix is not only authentic and delicious, it is the ultimate time saver!

PICT2688Place 1-quart of water in a 4-quart stockpot and cook:

1  pound Vigo yellow rice


4  tablespoons salted butter


1/2  teaspoon red pepper flakes

added to the water,

according to the directions...

IMG_5300 IMG_5297... simmering steadily, with the lid on the pot, for 18-20 minutes.  

When the rice has absorbed almost all of the water, remove from heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.  Before serving, rake through it (I'm using a pasta fork) to separate and fluff the kernels.

Remove ribs from oven and test for doneness:

IMG_5624Portion and serve the ribs on top of the rice with steamed broccoli or peas to the side:

IMG_5461Broiled & Baked:  K.C. BBQ'D Country-Style Ribs (Pantry Cooking:  Kid Friendly and Mother Approved!):  Recipe yields 4-6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  2, 13" x 9" x 2" baking dishes; long-handled fork; aluminum foil; 4-quart stockpot

IMG_3267Cook's Note:  Pantry cooking doesn't have to be out of desperation, sometimes it can be intentional because the food is that good. For another one of my recipes that I didn't have to call my children to the table twice for (and I still make to this day): ~ Pantry Cooking:  Chicken & Rice (Arroz con Pollo) ~ can be found in Categories 3, 13, 19 & 20!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)  


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