Saturday, February 7, 2009

Crockpot Ribs and Vegetables

Last weekend, I finished off the last of the forest fed pork I had in the freezer. I was feeling lazy, so I just threw some ribs in a crockpot with a bunch of vegetables. Turned out pretty good.




Ingredients:
  • Pork ribs from the forest
    • Marinade - about 20 hours
      • Apple Cider
      • Cumin
      • Cloves
  • Vegetables
    • Celery Root
    • Green, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers with red onion (I saw a pre-cut pack at the grocery store)
    • Carrots
  • Seasonings
    • Garlic (about a bulb and a half)
    • Shallots (diced from a jar)
    • Apple Cider (~1/2 cup)
    • Kosher salt
    • Black pepper
    • Red pepper
    • White pepper
    • Paprika
    • Celery salt
    • olive oil
    • honey
  • Sauce
    • Drippings from everything above
    • Apple Cider (~1/3 cup)
    • Cane sugar
    • Cloves
    • Cumin
    • Red pepper

Procedure:
The night before, I knew I'd want to cook the ribs so I threw them in a freezer bag with apple cider, cloves, and cumin to marinate.  The next evening, I took a pre-cut pack of various bell peppers and red onion, put it in the crock pot, added celery root and carrots, all the seasonings, and tossed all that in a crockpot, coating the vegetables with olive oil and seasonings. I then cut the meat into individual ribs, placed them on top of the vegetables, sprinkled on some more pepper, honey, and a little apple cider. That was cooked at about 200-250 for about an hour and a half.

After everything was done, I pulled everything out of the crockpot, leaving the drippings - mostly some pork fat, cider, and garlic, all of which had been flavored by all of the great vegetables. I added a little more cider, a little raw cane sugar, cloves, cumin, and red pepper, then reduced it for about 5-10 minutes. If reducing sounds fancy, it is not - you just simmer it until it gets thicker - the sugars get caramelized and you cook off some water. I then added the ribs back to the sauce for about 5-10 minutes, stirring most of the time to really coat them well.

Resulting Deliciousness:
These ribs were pretty good, but the vegetables stole the show - they were absolutely fantastic. I think this was because I don't have a very good crockpot, I have a multipurpose thing that's mostly good for frying. The low temperature controls aren't very good, so I basically steamed this stuff in an hour and a half instead of slow cooking it over about 4 hours, as I intended. As a result, the vegetables were nicely done, but the ribs had a very slightly chewy texture, not the perfect tenderness you want for ribs. But, they were still really good. If you have a real crockpot or a dutch oven, this would probably turn out better, texturally speaking. 
  
If you want to see some really well-done ribs, check out my Spring Break '08 Ribs.   
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