Portrait of a recipe

Our second guest on Word-of-Mouth TV was Kelly Rimmer, the author of the heartbreaking contemporary family drama Before I Let You Go, which tells the story of a young woman doctor who discovers that her heroin addict sister is pregnant, and must decide what to do to help save her unborn child.

The book is set in Alabama, which has very strict laws about addicts and the risks they pose to their unborn children, and so we decided to cook a favourite family recipe of Kelly’s, which is also an Alabama special

Ingredients – Stage 1 Spice rub and slow cook
  • About 1.5kg of American or Aussie Style pork spare ribs, cut in half.

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Ingredients – Stage 2 – BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter or mild vegetable oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 3/4 cup good quality chicken stock

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce

  • 1/2 cup molasses

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method – Stage 1

Mix ingredients together, then rub generously into all surfaces of pork. Cover and refrigerate (ideally for 24 hours, but in a pinch, an hour or two will do).

Cook on high in slow cooker for one hour, then reduce to low and cook for around 6 hours, until ribs are tender. I cook them until the meat is easily pulled from the bone with a fork, but not until they are falling apart. Particularly thick ribs may require additional time.

Optional Method: you can save washing up and time by cooking these in the oven, covered with foil, for around 3-4 hours at 150 degrees c. I find it’s far easier to achieve the desired tenderness in the slow cooker and the slow cooker doesn’t really need to be monitored, which is great when you’re busy writing and not paying attention! But there is an alternative if you’re not into washing up or short on time.

Method – Stage 2

In a large saucepan, heat butter/oil over med heat. Add garlic and cook until tender. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a simmer while stirring, then reduce heat. Simmer for 30-40 minutes but keep a close eye on it, and stir regularly. Remove from heat once sauce thickens a little.

Method – Stage 3

Line baking trays with baking paper. Preheat fan forced oven to 200 degrees. Carefully arrange ribs in a single layer on oven trays, then brush generously with BBQ sauce. Return ribs to oven for 3-5 minutes, until sauce has ‘set’. Turn ribs over, and repeat, until both sides of ribs have a lovely, sticky coating.

Serve with buttery mashed potatoes, green beans and corn.

Kate’s comments:

I made one or two adjustments to Kelly’s recipe. Firstly, I’m intolerant to nightshade which means I sadly had to cut out the paprika. However, I simply added a little extra cumin and it was very tasty. I had to cook the ribs in the oven, as we were having Kelly for lunch, and so I didn’t have time for the full seven hours in the slow cooker, so I added some water to keep the ribs tender and moist and avoid burning.

They were delicious!

Image Credit: @SmitBruins