Country Ribs with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We took a stroll down memory lane this weekend. At Bob's suggestion, I made old-fashioned country ribs for our dinner this evening. These were the spareribs of our childhood. I was raised in an ethnically diverse neighborhood where economic constraints and large families made spareribs an impossibly expensive choice for a family meal. A small rack of ribs might be used to flavor a bubbling meat sauce, but they never appeared on the table as an entree. There was pork aplenty, but the barbecued ribs of our childhood were eaten with a knife and fork and came from the blade end of the pork loin. These so-called country ribs, resembled small pork chops and had lots of meat on them. When they were baked slowly and mopped with a well-flavored barbecue sauce they gained easy access to the realm of things that dreams are made of. Bob, a rib aficionado if ever there was one, came from a home where folks knew their ribs. I didn't want to botch his Father's Day request, so I used his mother's recipe to bake them, but substituted a barbecue sauce that I have come to prefer. The original recipe come from an old and dog-eared copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Coincidentally, their recipe can easily be adapted for use in a slow cooker. The barbecue sauce is a bit different from most that are used to baste ribs. Its unique flavor comes from the use of rhubarb which adds a tartness to a sauce that would otherwise be too sweet for most tastes. This makes for a great family meal. I know that those of you who try this recipe will enjoy the ribs. Here's how they are made.

Country-Style Ribs with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

4 pounds country-style ribs, cut into 4 to 6-inch pieces
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
2/3 cup water
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2) Salt ribs; place in a shallow roasting pan, meaty side up. Roast at 450 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Drain excess fat from pan. Top ribs with lemon and onion slices.
3) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring rhubarb and water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Place rhubarb in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Set aside. In same saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer. Add remaining ingredients. Whisk in rhubarb puree until blended. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
4) Pour sauce over ribs. Lower temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake until well done and fork tender, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. I let my ribs cook for almost 2-1/2 hours. Baste ribs with sauce every 15 minutes. If sauce gets too thick, add more water. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

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