Standing at the kitchen sink like some sort of meat sorcerer, he'd sprinkle the raw slabs with a concoction of seasoning salt and spices. Quietly, he'd cover the pink flesh and bones and allow them to marinate either overnight in the fridge or a few hours on the counter before taking them to meet their fiery end on the grill's grate. That night we'd feast on perfectly flame-cooked ribs, steaks and chicken. No fingers went unlicked as we hungrily devoured the bounty of barbecued meat.
You know as well as I do there's no comparison between flame-grilled meat and broiled meat. But earlier this week, when Manchester was still wrapped in a flurry of wintry weather, I craved summer and barbecue ribs. The best I could do was the slow cooker and I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the results. The meat really does melt in your mouth. The sauce is moreish and I guarantee that you'll hear one of two things around your dinner table when you serve this: the silent enjoyment of eating a dish too good for words or the satisfied moans and slurps that accompany any flavorful meal.
For the ribs
1/2 cup Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce
1 cup water
2 pounds pork ribs
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp cumin
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
For the barbecue sauce
a bit more Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce
All right, let's cook:
Combine the paprika, cumin some salt and pepper on a shallow plate. Roll each rib in the mix--depending on the size of your ribs, you might need more spices. Set aside.
Pour the barbecue sauce, water and Worcestershire sauce into the belly of the slow cooker.
Gently place the ribs in the water, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Once the ribs are done, ease them out of the slow cooker using tongs and place them in a serving dish deep enough to hold the sauce. Be careful, though! The meat will be so tender that if handed roughly, it'll just fall off the bone. Cover with foil. and get on with the sauce.
Pour the leftover liquid (and any bits of meat that have fallen from the bone) from the slow cooker into a saucepan. Top up with a bit more Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce and allow to bubble away and come to the boil. Keep the pan on while you get on making side items. You're looking for the sauce to reduce by about 1/3. Once reduced, pour back over the ribs and serve straight away.