I suppose you might call these barbecued spareribs, but they’re a long way from true barbecue cooked long and slow over hickory coals. No matter. These ribs are succulent and full of flavor. The perfect accompaniments? Coleslaw and fresh-baked corn bread.
Adapted from "Falling off the Bone" by Jean Anderson.
- 6 pounds meaty spareribs, divided into 2- or 3-rib widths
- Cold water to cover ribs by about 1½ inches
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7/8 cup cider vinegar (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably a dark Asian one
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground hot red pepper (cayenne), or to taste
Place ribs, water, and salt in a large heavy Dutch oven, bring to a boil over moderate heat, reduce heat till water barely bubbles, cover, and simmer until ribs are tender — 1 ¾-2 hours.
Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a small, heavy, nonreactive saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, just until butter melts and sugar dissolves — 3-5 minutes. Taste for cayenne and adjust as needed. Set off heat, cover, and reserve.
When ribs are tender, preheat broiler. Lift ribs from Dutch oven and arrange in a single layer in a very large shallow nonreactive roasting pan. Brush well with the reserved sauce. Discard Dutch oven liquid.
Slide pan into broiler, setting about 5 inches from heat, and broil until brown — 5-6 minutes, brushing at half-time with more sauce. Remove ribs from broiler, turn, and brush flip-sides generously with sauce. Broil 5–6 minutes longer, again brushing with sauce at half-time. Don’t be stingy.
When ribs are glistening and brown, arrange on a heated large platter and spoon any remaining sauce over ribs.