It is with a heavy heart that I write my post about this week’s recipe for French Fridays at Dorie. I’ve learned some new techniques, explored new combinations of ingredients, and experienced some new flavors. It’s been a new adventure every week. After nine months of cooking from this fabulous cookbook, this week I hit my first complete dud: the Cola and Jam Spareribs.
In my house, when it comes to big slabs of meat, particularly ribs, this is normally my husband Howard’s domain. His usual treatment is a long, slow cook on his fancy Texas smoker. When I announced this week’s recipe, Howard was initially doubtful. But, over many months of my cooking from the book, he has faith in Dorie, too, so kept an open mind.
We were expecting guests (my friend and two teenaged girls) so doubled the recipe and made two racks. The ribs are rubbed with fragrant ginger and five-spice powder. The glaze was a mix of orange juice and apricot jam (Stonewall Kitchen’s Apricot and Ginger Jam) with a dosage of Coca-Cola for the final hour. The preparation was quite simple.
The only preparation glitch was that I didn’t check with the in-house Coke drinker (Howard) and made the faulty assumption that we had cans of Coke in the basement. We were out of stock, so someone had to make an extra trip to the store while the ribs did their initial roasting.
The ribs looked great as they cooked. I had to open the oven for basting, and it smelled good too.
Unfortunately, when we served dinner, Howard and I were completely underwhelmed. The sweet stickiness suggested by the bubbling glaze was absent from our tastebuds. The ribs themselves were a little chewy, certainly without the melting off the bone quality from a smoker. It was a total disappointment. (My friend said they were good, but I think she was just being polite.)
In the end, the teenagers opted out, and didn’t show up for dinner, so there were plenty of leftovers. After bringing ribs for lunch on the day after, Howard and I both sheepishly admitted to each other that we weren’t enjoying the ribs and neither of us wanted to bring them for lunch again. I ended up tossing out a full rack of spareribs. I hate wasting food, but I just couldn’t make myself eat them again.
I’m really not sure whether I did something wrong or it just wasn’t to our taste. I did add water to the pan to keep things moist, but, because the pan was almost borderline dry between bastings, I can’t imagine that I added enough water that it diluted the flavors.
I’ll chalk it up to “you win some, you lose some”. I’ve cooked close to 40 recipes from this book, and, as I said, this was the first loser (to me), so the odds have been favorable.
I can’t wait for next week’s recipe: Roasted Rhubarb. I already know I’m the only one who will eat it at my house, but if, it comes out as I hope it will, it just means more for me.
Click here for links to other bloggers’ posts on these ribs. Hopefully, they had a better experience than I did. Until next week…