4th of July and Pomegranate Molasses Baby Back Ribs

4th of July and Pomegranate Molasses Baby Back Ribs

I overslept yesterday. I know it was a holiday and all, but I HATE oversleeping. I didn't wake up until 11:41 am, and I was HORRIFIED. And also vaguely irritated at the dogs, who normally wake me up by 8:15am by making hyena noises (Shae) followed by rooing if I make any kind of movement (Stewart).  Jesse and Clementine, on the other hand, think any movement is an invitation to snuggle; both make cute little moany grunty noises of contentment, making it REALLY hard to get up and out of bed. So I was shocked to see how late it was, and immediately jumped up and got started on my day, which was missing (and felt like it!) three hours.  I spent the earlier part of the day sewing, but it wasn't too long before I started in the kitchen.  I made candy, and a pastry, which will show in a future blog posting, along with the finished product that I was too tired to take picture of last night.

I wanted to make a more American style meal, something along the lines of ribs and baked potatoes; but I wanted to get a little more involved than the obvious.  So I upgraded the sauce on the baby back ribs to a pomegranate molasses, port, and brown sugar sauce with plenty of garlic; and turned the baked potatoes into potato skins, topped with sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onion, and BACON.  Since I was going to have the oven going, I thought I'd also do jalapeno poppers, primal style; stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon. And, even though the potatoes and peppers are technically vegetables, and so is salad, I wanted a green vegetable on the side, so I sous vided some brussels sprouts.  And, since I was going to have the sous vide going, I also threw in some beets, so I could have them for salad for several days. Have I mentioned lately how much I love that damn machine?? I have had it out on the counter for some time now, since I've been using it so much. I am debating on reorganizing my kitchen so that it can live in the open full time. ; )

I washed and trimmed the brussels sprouts, cut them in half, and placed them in a 1 gallon food saver bag with sea salt, pepper, and butter.  The beets also got washed and the end trimmed; I sliced them in 1/2" thick slices, and peeled them before bagging them with salt, pepper, and butter.  Both were vacuum sealed, and put in the sous vide at 185 degrees. The minimum time for these vegetables is 90 minutes, but they can be left in for up to 4 hours without losing texture. I had them in for about 3 1/2 hours, and the were not soggy at all; they were still a bit on the crisp side! I am going to start pre-bagging and freezing some vegetables while they are in season and inexpensive; the vacuum sealed bags allow them to be frozen without crystallizing or getting freezer burn. And they just look so neat and organized in their bags.

I cooked the ribs first in the pressure cooker at 15psi for 23 minutes; then after releasing the steam, I pulled the ribs out and put them on a foil lined baking sheet. After topping them with sauce, I put them in the 375 degree oven with the potato skins and jalapeno poppers.  They all finished at the same time, about 15-25 minutes (I have no sense of time, can you tell??).  I turn the ribs and brush them with more sauce a few times, and added the cheese to the potatoes in the last few minutes.  Because I had enough variety with the main course, I didn't add anything to my lettuce for salad, I just dressed it with olive oil and vinegar, and sea salt.

The ribs were really great; perfectly tender, as always. The pressure cooker combined with the oven to caramelize the sauce seems to be the best way to cook them that I've tried.  And the potato skins were HEAVEN.  Crispy with gooey cheese, cool sour cream, and crisp and salty bacon.  But the winner on the plate was the poppers; they cooked long enough to make the bacon crisp (and the bottom of the poppers were PERFECTLY crisp and happy) but not too long so the cheese melted out. They were AMAZING.

Primal Poppers

Cream Cheese

Cut jalepenos in half, remove seeds and white membranes.  (Leave some in if you like it hotter.)  Cut cream cheese into strips, and push a strip into each jalapeno half.  Cut bacon strips in half, and stretch each half gently to make it a little longer. Wrap the bacon around a jalapeno half, starting with the stem end, making sure the bacon covers the end to prevent the cream cheese from running out as it melts.   If the bacon is long enough, tuck it under at the end so that it doesn't curl. If it curls, the bacon crisps up, and that is good too. No matter what, it will be perfect, trust me. : )

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until the bacon is crisp.


I'm posting the recipe for the sauce, with the caveat that it isn't my favorite; I'll continue experimenting with it, but it is a fun change from the typical heavy American BBQ sauce.  I think it would benefit from a trip in a food processor to make it smoother.

Pomegranate BBQ Sauce

1/2 c onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c brown sugar
4 T pomegranate molasses
2 T Port
1 T ketchup
1 t liquid smoke
2 t Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is GF)
1 t salt
1/2 t cayenne
1/3 c cider vinegar
1/4 c water
1 t dry mustard
1 t chili flakes (more or less, to taste)

Combine everything in a saucepan, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until slightly thickened. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

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