It’s officially fall, which means the crock pot is usually on and something hearty and delicious is making my apartment smell like a fancy restaurant. Recently, it’s been these super yummy pork ribs from Llano Seco Rancho, a beautiful ranch on one of the last Mexican Land grant properties out near Chico. Their pork is insanely delicious, while being very high quality. They pride themselves on humanely raising their animals and have a strong focus on land conservation and stewardship- which makes buying their products feel all the better.
Braising meat with Broth Baby is a beautiful thing. Our broth helps add flavor (and nutrients) to the meat, while offering a nice body to the remaining sauce due to the high gelatin content. I’ve used Broth Baby and a crock pot to make delicious BBQ pulled pork, chipotle-braised chicken thighs, hearty oxtail stew, and more. Seriously, get that crock pot out and try something new this week! You will not be let down.
As a nutritionist, I’m aware that this searing creates oxidation that is often talked about as a carcinogen. I tend to sear in animal fats (chicken, beef, or pork fat) that are more stable animal fats that have higher smoke points than other cooking oils. My personal ethos is everything in moderation, and I believe that seared meat, once in a while, is nothing to worry about, and too delicious to deprive yourself!
These tasty ribs take only 20 minutes of active prep, making it an easy meal to set in the afternoon and come home to in time for dinner. As with most braising recipes, seasoning and searing the meat before placing it in the crock pot is the best way to lock in any flavors from the spices as well as offer a richer, meatier taste in your final end product.
1/2 rack pork ribs, roughly ~3lbs
1 jar broth baby (with fat cap)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs black strap molasses
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs BBQ rub (oaktown spice mix)
1tbs rendered chicken fat (from fat cap on top of broth jar) If no fat cap, use another high-heat stable cooking fat like lard, duck fat, ghee or coconut oil.
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut ribs into two-rib sections for easy searing. Generously season ribs with sea salt, pepper, and BBQ rub- massaging into ribs with minced garlic.
Scoop out fat cap from broth jar and use 1tbs in cast iron skillet, turning heat to medium high. Reserve rest of fat to be used in crockpot with broth later. Once fat is hot, add ribs in batches so not to crowd the pan, searing on both sides (3-4mins per side) until golden-dark brown.
Add onions to crock pot, nestling ribs on top of onions so they lay flat if possible. Drizzle molasses over ribs and add broth, enough to leave about 1/2inch of ribs exposed. Stir in tomato paste. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
Remove ribs gently, meat will be falling off bone at this point! Use remaining liquid to reduce into a sauce, as the cooking liquid for grains, or use as base of soup. If you like a bit of crisp to your ribs, you can broil them on high for 3-5 minutes in the oven after taking them out of the crock pot.
Serves two hungry adults, enjoy!