They were in the flyer for the local discount supermarket. I always imagine that, if TV’s The Middle’s Frugal Hoosier sprang into existence, it would look a great deal like this! Riblets – 5 lb box – $4.95. At that price, I had to have them and I really didn’t know what a riblet was/is.
Turns out that the riblet is the tail-end of a rack that is “trimmed” off by the packer at the plant. If you ever want to test whether or not you are a omnivore, take a look at meat packer’s at work in one of the big plants such as Hormel. It is not recommended for those with a weak constitution. In this case, someone had the bright idea of selling the bits that would have gone for a few cents a pound to the pet food companies. Now they are “upsold” for human consumption. Not a bad idea for those of us who are true carnivores.
Karl and I are pretty sympatico when it comes to food pictures. He does the artsy-fartsy stuff, while I do the nitty-gritty “here’s what it is actually gonna look like, folks” pics. Every now and again he timidly suggests that we edit out some of my meat pictures. “Too much dead mammal.” If this all makes no sense because there is no meat pic after this paragraph, you will know that Karl struck again.
Once I had them, I had to cook them. I could have smoked them, but needed to knock out a quick dinner, so I went to my tried and true “It’s raining outside and I do not own a smoker” rib method. I put them in a pressure cooker – you can cook them for 30-60 minutes according your preference. In with the riblets, I added a cooking liquid of:
2 T Citrus Ponzu
2 T Oyster Sauce
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T Onion Powder
1 T Garlic Powder
1 T Ginger Powder
4 C Water
Any – or all – of the above (with the exception of the water), may be substituted or omitted. The idea is to use the pressure cooker to infuse the meat with flavors while cooking. You should pair your flavors to the sauce that you will use to coat the ribs in the end.
I cooked mine for 60 mins, which was probably a little too long, but still good. At 30 minutes they will be cooked, but chewy and probably not fall-off-the-bone tender. You decide what you want.
Remove riblets from the pressure cooker and save the stock. We are not done with the riblets yet, but we need something to go with them.
I made black beans and rice to accompany.
1 Onion, diced
1 Green Pepper, diced
3 Cloves Garlic
2 C Rice
1-2 t Cumin
1-2 t Soul-Food Seasoning
3-4 C Black Beans
You can use whatever method that you prefer, but I used the pressure cooker that I had just used for the riblets. Saute the green pepper and onion until soft. Add the rice and minced garlic. Continue to fry for a few minutes. Make sure that all of the grains of rice are coated with oil – preferably EVOO.
Add the spices and reserved stock from the riblets and cook according to your method – in this case, 13 minutes in the electric pressure cooker.
While this is cooking, place the riblets on a baking sheet and place in a hot oven – 450 and up – for 10-15 minutes, This will give the soft riblets a caramelized, chewy exterior.
Lastly, just like you would do with chicken wings, put them in a large bowl and toss to coat with your favorite sauce. In this case it was store-bought, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.
When the rice is done, stir in 3-4 cups of black beans to it and serve.