"These ribs were tender with a richness of flavors from the beer, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and chilies in the braise."
Although grilling is most definitely a year-round practice in my household, when the cold and dark arrive, my time grill-side deeply diminishes—but my cravings don't. So I'm always looking for ways to bring my favorite foods indoors.
When it comes to ribs, once smoking low-and-slow is out of the equation, I have no problem toying with different cooking methods. For indoor ribs, I've become fond of a braise-then-broil approach. This week I had the perfect super-sub-zero day to try out a Mark Bittman recipe I've had my eye on for a while. You sear the rack stove-top, then braise it in a porter, then finish them under the broiler.
The wintry aromas emanating from the braising ribs had my mouth watering, deeply anticipating the first bite, which did not disappoint. A totally different animal than their smoked, summer counterpart, these ribs were tender with a richness of flavors from the beer, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and chilies in the braise.
They were the perfect comfort food for that bitterly cold day, and even better because I got to keep nice and warm inside the entire time.
Indoor Beer-Braised Ribs
Adapted from Mark Bittman.
- 1 rack pork loin back ribs, around 3 pounds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 10 allspice berries
- 2 or 3 3-inch cinnamon sticks
- 10 nickel-sized slices unpeeled fresh ginger or 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 5 dried red chilies or a teaspoon of cayenne
- 5 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
- 1 bottle dark beer, like Guinness or any porter
Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove the membrane from the bottom side of the ribs and split the rack into two. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Put oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet or casserole that can later be covered. Turn heat to medium-high and, when oil shimmers, sear meat on both sides until nicely browned, turning as necessary.
Add allspice, cinnamon, ginger, chilies and garlic and stir; add beer. Bring to a boil; cover pan and adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily. Put in oven and cook until meat is tender, about 1 hour.
Heat broiler. Drain meat and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Broil on both sides until brown and crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, skim cooking liquid of fat, bring to a boil, and use as sauce.