Food52 Genius Recipe #52 Sticky Balsamic Ribs
I'm a big fan of BBQ ribs but because these didn't have the smoky and sweet spices that I normal go for, I didn't jump at making them right away. I knew Christine wouldn't really go for them either since she isn't much of a BBQ or pork fan, so I'd have to eat the whole rack myself. The original recipe calls for 8 pounds or approximately 4 racks of ribs. Since I was the only one likely to eat them, I picked up a single rack. I had most of the ingredients except for the main flavor, balsamic vinegar. It may be a staple in many people's households, but I rarely use it but maybe once or twice a year. So I grabbed a decent bottle along with the rack of ribs and headed home.
Unlike BBQ dry rub ribs, this used a mixture a fewer spices with sugar, rosemary, and lots of garlic along with the balsamic vinegar. Following the style of many of the recipes, it's got few ingredients and a couple of techniques to create the finished project. Something I found incredibly surprising that was missing from the instructions was removing the silver skin from the underside of the ribs. If you're not familiar with cooking ribs, there is a membrane of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the ribs which holds them together. If you leave this on, it will result in a leathery and bitter skin. Having made ribs once before and watching a lot of food television, I went ahead and removed that before starting.
After marinating the ribs for at least 8 hours, the ribs get steamed in a pan covered in foil over just under 2 hours. This is a significantly faster cooking time than most rib recipes. A glaze gets made out of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, some more sugar, and more balsamic vinegar. After that, the ribs get brushed with the glaze and flipped a couple of times on the grill to really caramelize the sugars in the glaze to produce the sticky exterior. What you're left with in an incredibly tender and sticky rib with a great balance of sweet and sour. As I said before, I prefer smoky flavors but I would eat these again and will definitely use the methods in this recipe the next time I make ribs.