Friday recipe: slow-cooker ribs

Happy Valentine’s Day! So are you planning a romantic evening with the one you love? Or are you like me, eager to devour the second season of Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning series “House of Cards,” the wicked and witty tale of ruthless Congressman Francis Underwood (the marvelous Kevin Spacey) and his equally ambitious wife, Claire (the so-cool Robin Wright)? While it’s dismaying to ponder how close to real-world Washington this political thriller is, season one was utterly, deliciously addictive. I plan to watch it with the one I love – it’s that good.

BBQ + "House of Cards" = a great Valentine's Day gift.
BBQ + “House of Cards” = a great Valentine’s Day gift.

(If you’re a “House of Cards” virgin and want to get into the fun, Tim Stack of “Entertainment Weekly” recommends you prepare by watching episodes 1, 4, 8, 10, 11 and 13 from season one – or, better yet, indulge yourself by watching all 13 episodes.)

Congressman Underwood regularly takes breaks from his political sorcery by going to Freddy’s, a friendly, no-frills barbecue joint in the nation’s capital. That’s why I’m serving ribs for my season-two celebration.

Last night I completed the recipe’s first steps, roasting the ribs in the oven, then I put everything in my slow-cooker container and stuck it in the fridge. The oven-prep step removes fat and excess liquid from the meat that would otherwise make a soupy mess. This morning I popped the container in its electric base and set it on low heat. That means all I’ll have to do for dinner tonight is throw together a salad, fill our plates and turn on the TV. (Bonus: The one I love happens to love barbecue ribs.)

Slow-cooker ribs

  • 4 pounds pork baby back ribs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (I used a mixture of Mumbo’s Tangy Hot – yes, I order it by the case – along with Sriracha sauce and ketchup)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Place on rack in a shallow baking pan. Brown in oven 15 minutes. Turn over and brown another 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Spray the container of a slow-cooker with cooking spray. Place ribs inside. Pour sauce over the ribs; turn to coat. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or until ribs are tender.

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