BBQ-style beef ribs in the oven | twice-baked potato

BBQ-style beef ribs in the oven | twice-baked potato

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3 beef back ribs
1 baking potato
soy sauce
hot sauce
smoked paprika
fresh thyme

Cut the ribs into three individual bones, if they didn’t come like that already. Chop up a few cloves of garlic and season the ribs aggressively with salt. Put the ribs in a sealable bag with the garlic, and pour in just enough vinegar to keep the meat coated, along with a little water (1 part water to 2 parts vinegar is good). Let marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Remove the ribs from the marinade and try to scrape off most of the garlic pieces. Lay the ribs in a baking dish and seal it tightly with foil. Cut the root ends off a few more garlic cloves but leave the skins on. Put them on a little piece of foil, coat them lightly with oil and wrap them up tight. Stab the potato a few times to let out steam, coat it in oil and season the skin generously with salt.

Put the ribs, garlic and potato into a 300ºF/150ºC oven — I like to cook the potato right on the grates. When the garlic is soft and golden brown, take it out — it took me about an hour. Remove the meat when it’s very soft and remove the potato when it’s squishy inside — both took me about 3 hours at that relatively low temperature.

Pour all the liquid and rendered fat out of the rib pan and save it. Tear off a small piece of rib meat and taste it for seasoning. If the meat needs more salt, sprinkle it on now.

Cut the potato in half and scoop the inner flesh out to a bowl, discarding one of the skin halves. Mash the potato innards, enrich them with a couple spoonfuls of the rib fat and loosen their texture with the rib broth until they are smooth and moldable. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and into the potato mixture. Grate in some cheese and stir in salt, pepper and thyme leaves to taste. Pile the filling into the remaining potato skin.

Mix up the barbecue sauce by putting about 1/4 cup (60mL) into a bowl and augmenting it with a little molasses, mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce and smoked paprika. If you don’t have or like some of those things, they can pretty much all be skipped or swapped. Mix it to taste.

Before you put the sauce on, return the ribs to the oven uncovered and turn the broiler (grill) on max. Brown the ribs on all sides under the broiler. About halfway through that process, return the potato to the oven and let the top brown under the broiler. Now brush a thin layer of BBQ sauce onto the ribs and return them under the broiler. When the sauce has browned by not burned, paint on a second thin layer and repeat.

Take out the ribs and the potato when both are brown and throw them on a plate. Garnish the ribs with more thyme leaves. and have any unused sauce on the side.

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