My sweetie, Andrew, misses his Mama’s cooking. He regularly gets all glassy eyed, recounting some dish or dessert that his mom used to make. I feed him well but, frankly, I don’t blame the man. His mom, Nancy, is an experienced and gifted southern chef. She was raised in Alabama, and has lived in North Carolina for all her adult life, all the while soaking up the secrets of southern cuisine. Just to give you an example of the utter deliciousness that comes out of this lady’s kitchen: last time I was over at their house for dinner, Nancy made roast pork loin, turnip greens, mashed potatoes, black eyed peas, and cornbread all cooked to perfection. Just thinking about that dinner gets me droolin’.
One of the recurring fond remembrances Andrew has for his mom’s cooking is her baby back ribs. So, while we were home for the holidays, I asked her if I could get that recipe and try to make it myself. She was happy to oblige and she pulled out a well-worn recipe card that had faded to the point of illegibility. As I squinted and strained to read it, she easily recited it to me from across the room while I copied it down.
Let me tell you, this is a recipe you should commit to memory. Andrew and I made these ribs for ourselves and a few friends a while back and they were AAAA-MAZING. To say they were finger-licking good is an understatement. They’re more like scarf-um-down, lick your fingers AND the plate, then drink the sauce when the meat is gone-GOOD. The best part? You’re not even ashamed. The shameful thing would be letting one bit of these ribs go to waste.
So basically… you should give these a try. Plus, they’re easy to make. It’s only a three step process; boil the meat, simmer the sauce, then bake them together. Who knows, maybe this will be the recipe that makes your family and friends get all dreamy for your cooking.
Nancy’s Baby Back Ribs:
Makes 6-8 Servings
- 4 pounds baby back ribs (2 racks)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 5 1/2 ounces tomato paste
1. Cut the ribs into serving sizes, 2-3 bones. Place the ribs into a large pot and submerge in water. Cover with a lid.
2. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, cook for 30 minutes, then drain.
3. While the ribs are boiling, measure the rest of the ingredients into a sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently. Simmer until the onion is soft.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Transfer the ribs to a baking dish, and pour over the sauce. Cover with a lid or tin foil.
5. Bake for one hour.