Sometimes you have an idea that starts as a small seed / grain of sand, but you muddle over it for a while and polish it up until it becomes beautiful pearl that you just have to make into a reality. These ribs have been on my mind for a while.
It started sometime in the winter when I had this strange craving for birch beer glazed chicken. Nicole told me that I should wait for the summer, though (ughh waiting!) I usually don’t get obsessive over ideas like this, but when I do, I just do it. No waiting, just doing. So we wrote it in our planning schedule and I patiently waited for the time to come.
Fast forward to now, the summer time, when chicken is grilled with a sweet sauce, aka barbecue. So, now a new question was raised… How do I create this recipe to be more like grilled chicken without using a grill? I don’t like using liquid smoke nor do I have an industrial hood to do a stovetop smoker. Using a grill on my premises would take a lot of the guess work out of the equation. I would be able to get the absolute perfect smoke flavor out of it. But alas, I cannot do that in our current living situation. I do suppose that I could take it down to our local park and use the public grills but that’s a lot of things to bring with me. So here I am, stuck working out a way to make them perfect without the right tools to do so. This is a daily problem I encounter at work — welcome to the life of a chef!
I waited all this time just to run into this issue. The solution that I came up with was to braise the chicken with some garlic, onions and stock, along with a can of birch beer. The most basic braise in my mind and they tasted great! I was really happy with them. Nicole liked them too and thought that the sticky sauce would be extra tasty on some ribs. They kind of reminded me of bourbon chicken you get from Chinese buffets. So good!
Perfection drives us, so we took another stab at it with some ribs. Because… well, why not? It’s the season for ribs!
Nothing beats separating some ribs with your bear hands (yes bear) and tearing into them with carnal hunger. Leaving only stripped bones and crumpled napkins that tried to remove the sticky sauce you couldn’t lick off. So, in the spirit of summer I attempted ribs, and they were so good!
I did run into a small problem of a broken sauce. By broken, I mean that the sauce split into two clearly definable liquids, fat and everything else. The reason for this was that the fat content was far too high. It kinda looks like salad dressing after it sits for an hour and separates. My thought as to why this happened to me is because the ribs dripped off fat as they cooked. If you run into this problem, an easy way to fix this is by adding an ice cube or two to the broken sauce and whisk vigorously. It should tighten back up and emulsify. If it doesn’t tighten, just keep doing it until it works. The issue is that the sauce has become over reduced leaving behind a lot of fat content. I also added some birch beer to help fix it as well, so have some spare cans just in case.
We really enjoyed the birch beer glaze with ribs but like I said earlier, it also works with chicken legs. If you do have a grill available I would suggest reducing the soda in a pot on the stove to a glaze and then baste/brush the protein with the glaze for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve these with your dutch potato salad and whatever else you’d like. We did this one with a Spanish salad called piriñaca. It’s what my grandmother always makes as a side during the summer months. It’s perfect with some Italian white bread to sop up the juices.
Birch Beer RibsPrint This
- Rack of Pork Ribs (Baby Back or Spare Ribs)
- 1/4 C Paprika
- 2 tbs Salt
- 2 tbs Pepper
- 24 oz Birch Beer
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Onion, Chopped
- 1 Cup Stock or Water
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Rub with paprika. Sear off the ribs in a cast iron pan until brown. Remove ribs from pan, add onion and garlic stirring until fragrant. Deglaze with birch beer, add stock or water and pepper flakes. Add the ribs back to the pan and cover with foil.
Place in a 300 degree oven for 1-2 hours, basting the ribs every 20 minutes. Halfway through, remove foil. Once ribs are tender, remove the onion and continue to baste the ribs with the sauce until the sauce is sticky and coats the ribs. Eat!
We hope you enjoy this recipe as well as your summer!
P.S. Another idea that I had with the glaze is would be to do some chicken wings. Grill them and glaze them at the end. Mmmmmm! That would be a home run for your 4th of July party.