Tag Archives: salt lick

Braised Ribs

21 Jun

My son Martin really loves ribs.  He orders them any time he spots them on a menu, and when we talk about going to TX, his list of activities always include EATING RIBS (love that boy).  Unfortunately for him, I don’t make ribs at home very often.  It’s not that they are that hard really that hard, it’s just that the idea of grilling them up can be kind of daunting.  After you’ve had GREAT ribs, like those found at Coopers and The Salt Lick, it is pretty hard to make any ribs that measure up.  Since we are not in Texas and our access to THOSE ribs is limited, we decided to give making ribs a try.  And since baseball season is in full swing, leaving no time for a grilled meal, we went with the next best option:

Slow-cooked, braised ribs.

I started with a recipe I tried a few years ago for baby back ribs.  I remembered that they were really tender, but also felt like there were a lot of steps.  Using this recipe as a guide, I made some changes to better suit our tastes and to simplify it a bit.  I made two different sets of ribs, one for the child who hates all things spicy (salt, sugar, and ketchup only), and one set for the child who loves a touch of heat (peppery spice blend, sugar, BBQ sauce).  Both were good, but I preferred the peppery version.  The other big change to note is that I used Pork Loin Back Ribs instead of Baby Back Ribs.  I prefer the Pork Loin Back Ribs because they are meatier, with thicker chunks of meat on top of the bone.  The braising method makes the pork fall-off-the-bone tender, which is good for me because I hate gnawing on a rib like a caveman.  I like to look like a lady; a lady who really likes ribs.

When I made ribs this week, I was banking on baseball being cancelled due to rain.  The weather held out that night, and we did not have time to eat the dinner I had planned.  Instead of trying to cram in the tasty meal, I left them wrapped up and finished them with sauce the following night.  They were perfect.  I would highly recommend making these a day ahead, and finishing them to serve the next night.  These would be perfect for a crowd, as it would be just as easy to double or triple the recipe for more guests (or hungrier guests).

Braised Ribs
Serving size: Approx. 3 ribs
Serves: 6


3-1/2 lbs pork loin back ribs
1/2 c. white wine
1 T. cider vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire
1 T. ketchup
+ One of the options listed below

OPTION 1 (mild)
1 T. brown sugar
3/4 t. kosher salt

OPTION 2 (medium)
1 T. brown sugar
Peppery spice blend (recommend Coopers)
BBQ sauce (recommend Coopers & The Salt Lick Original, mixed)


Decide which spice blend option you prefer, then mix together the brown sugar and salt or pepper blend.  Divide the mixture evenly between each of the racks of ribs, sprinkle on top and lightly rub into the meat.  Completely wrap the rack of ribs in foil, leaving one end rolled for easy access later.  Place the foil-wrapped racks in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 250° F.

In a small container, mix together the wine, vinegar, Worcestershire, and ketchup.

Place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet.   Gently open one end of each of the foil packs and pour in some of the liquid.  Divide the liquid pretty evenly between each of the foil packets, then seal it back up.  Place the tray of ribs in the oven and cook for 2 hours.

If you are ready to serve, remove the ribs from the foil and return to the baking tray.   Top with the ketchup or BBQ sauce (depending on which Option you chose above) and spread it around a bit.  Increase oven temperature to 350° F, return ribs to oven, and cook for 15 minutes.

If you are making ahead, leave the ribs in the foil packets and refrigerate until you are almost ready to serve.  Place the wrapped ribs in the oven at 200 degrees and reheat for 30 minutes.   Top with ketchup or BBQ sauce and spread around a bit.  Increase oven temperature to 350° F, return ribs to oven, and cook for 15 minutes.


Estimated calories:  670 cal/serving

Print it: Braised Ribs

Apricot Cobbler

6 Aug

There are a few things my grandma always has on hand – dark chocolate, candied ginger, and dried apricots (which she pronounces APE-ri-cots).  Until this morning, the only kind of apricots I’d ever had were of the dried variety.  They’re good, but they did not prepare me for the tart, sour, and slightly peachy flavor of a fresh apricot.

I stopped by Griffin Gardens (twitter: @minnesotapeach) just as they were finishing up harvesting apricots for the morning.

After tasting a fresh apricot, I was reminded of the peach cobbler at The Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX.  As far as desserts go, there’s hardly one finer.  Armed with two different varieties of apricots and half a dozen duck eggs, I went home and set out to make a cobbler/bread pudding hybrid sort of like the one they serve up at The Salt Lick. 

I started with an unofficial recipe that claimed to be the one used at The Salt Lick.  Then, I mixed it up a bit by adding some chunks of bread, and substituting soy milk and non-dairy butter for their dairy counterparts.  And since apricots are more tart and less sweet than their peachy cousins, I used both white and brown sugar to help boost some sweetness out of the fruit.  The resulting dessert was delicious – the chunks of bread give the cobbler a bit of body without the heaviness of a bread pudding, the brown sugar added some caramel flavor just as I’d hoped, and the apricot lended a touch of tartness to each bite.

Apricot Cobbler
Serves: 12
Serving Size:  1 scoop

1 c. day old bread, torn into bits
1 c. very vanilla soy milk, divided
1/4 c. non-dairy margarine
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar, divided
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. kosher salt
1 duck egg
1-1/2 lbs. apricots, pitted and cut into thin wedges
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon

In a bowl, pour 1/3 c. soy milk over bread and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Place non-dairy butter in a 9×13 pan and set in oven to melt the butter.  When it has melted, remove from oven and set aside until ready to assemble the cobbler.

In a bowl, combine flour, 1/4 c. sugar, baking powder and salt.  Stir until well mixed.  Add duck egg and remaining 2/3 c. soy milk.  Stir until it is a batter-like consistency.  Add the bread mixture, and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, combine apricot wedges, remaining 1/2 c. sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Stir until everything is well coated.

Pour the egg mixture into the pan and gently push it to cover the whole pan.  Place spoonfuls of the apricot mixture into the pan without stirring everything together.  Try to evenly distribute the apricots in the pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.  It is done when the edges just start to get a bit crispy and the cobbler portion in the middle is firm to the touch.

Estimated Calories:  181 cal/serving

– You can definitely substitute cow’s milk (I’d use 2% + add 1 t. vanilla) and butter for the non-dairy ingredients
– Also, a chicken egg can be used instead of the duck egg
– If apricots are too tart for you, try using half apricots and half peaches
– Don’t bother trying to cut this one either, it is meant for scooping
– As far as desserts go, this one is pretty low in calories, which should help you feel better about it should you choose to top this off with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream (either of which would be AWESOME)

Print it: Apricot Cobbler