From around 1991 until the Spring of 1999 I was a vegetarian. Sometimes I blame my switch back to eating meat on Austin, Texas. It might just be nostalgia, but on my first visit the entire town smelled of smoked, barbecued meat. Delicious. Smoked. Barbecued. Meat. And since I don’t think I’ve ever met a BBQ I didn’t like, I chowed down on some ribs, and beans with chunks of meat, and well, really never looked back. Smoked, grilled and/or slow cooked meat and several of the sides that traditionally go with it like coleslaw, or stewed vegetables are fairly low carb to begin with and easy to make more so. Barbecue
sauces are another matter. Tomato based sauces have a lot of natural carbohydrates since tomatoes contain natural sugars. In addition most of them contain high carb sweeteners like sugar, brown sugar, molasses, and honey. If you are not concerned about these sweetening ingredients, go ahead and make this sauce with the sweeteners of your choice.
Country style pork ribs are cut from the blade end of the loin close to the shoulder and are technically not ribs. They can be a bit fatty and do well with the low and slow cooking treatment they get here. You can cut off some of the fat, or cook them as is and drain off the fat after cooking as I do. This recipe uses a dry seasoning rub with no sweeteners;
just pure spices and salt. These ribs owe a lot to Dana Carpender’s low carb cookbooks including the Low-carb Barbecue Book. Dana is one of my go-to low carb cooking gurus, but as always, I’ve put my own twists on things combining a sauce I used in my vegetarian days with one more likely to be found on meat. This is an oven baked rib recipe that you can make year round, even when you don’t have the time to tend the grill and smoker.
This will make more rub than you need for the ribs. Keep it in a shaker bottle to use for the next batch or in spicing up chicken breasts, burgers, steaks, or pork chops.
3 tablespoons total of paprika* I use 1.5 t Hungarian sweet and 1.5 t Vietnamese. The Vietnamese paprika which I buy at the local Asia Mart has a deeper more earthy flavor, the Hungarian is lighter and sweeter (It’s direct from a friend’s visit to Hungary.) Use what you have on hand – a teaspoon or two of smoked paprika would be nice in here as well.
1.5 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder, or some other pure chili powder
1 teaspoon chili powder blend (the seasoned kind you use for the stew “chili”)
½ teaspoon of cumin
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1.5 teaspoons of granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne (or less depending on your taste)
1.5 teaspoons oregano (I use Greek, but Mexican works well too)
1.5 teaspoons dry mustard
Mix everything together. You’ll use 2 Tablespoons more or less for your ribs. Save the rest for next time.
The BBQ Sauce
There are as many recipes for BBQ sauce as there are hogs in North Carolina. This one is tomato-y with enough sweetness to offset the vinegar tang. The ginger adds a nice kick and sets it apart from other sauces. If you like another sauce better than this version, use that one. As I’ve said before, I’ve not met BBQ I didn’t like.
2 Tablespoons of butter
½ cup of chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, chopped fine
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine – totaling 1.5 Tablespoons
1 bottle Heinz low sugar ketchup (sweetened with sucralose)
1 15 oz can Hunt’s tomato sauce (It has no added sugars)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1.5 Tablespoons chili powder
1.5 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons blackstrap molasses (or use a brown sugar substitute or the sweetener of your choice)
Couple of drops of liquid smoke (optional) – if you want a little smoky flavor since these are oven baked.
Melt the butter and sauté the onion on medium heat until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté 2 more minutes. Be sure to watch out that the onion, garlic and ginger does not brown or blacken. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Although it tastes good the same day, the sauce is better when it sits overnight.
I used two packages of country-style ribs or about 4 pounds for this last batch. The best part is you can use as many or as few ribs as you want. The rub keeps and the sauce freezes well. The night before you plan to cook them, sprinkle the dry rub all over the ribs making sure all sides are well seasoned. I used about 2 Tablespoons for 4 pounds; adjust for your amount accordingly. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container or in a plastic bag. I refrigerated them in the ceramic baking dish planned to cook them in, covered with foil. The next day I took them out about 30 minutes before cooking to take the chill off.
Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. Bake the ribs in a roasting/baking pan loosely covered with foil for 2 hours. At that point remove the foil and drain most of the fat and juices. [This is great stuff, but I’ve not quite figured out a secondary use for it since it’s heavily seasoned with the rub– send me your ideas…]. Brush the ribs liberally with BBQ sauce and
return to the oven for 30 more minutes. Ribs should be falling off the bone tender.
I have finally written down the coleslaw recipe my sweetie loves so much. I’ve been making this by eye for so long that I don’t ever measure, until now.
½ head of green cabbage, sliced into julienne strips (i.e. “shredded”)about 7-8 cups. When I’m lazy I buy a bag of slaw mix.
1 T lemon juice
1 T cider vinegar
½ t salt
2/3 cup mayonnaise (real mayo, not whipped spread)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon sweetener (for low carbers, I use a half a little yellow pack of sucralose/splenda)
Sprinkle of celery seeds (to taste, don’t use too many or they over power the salad)
Sprinkle of black pepper
Mix everything together until well blended. Chill.