Every Labor Day weekend, it’s become a tradition for me to make ribs (one of my dad’s favorites).  My version uses short ribs.  Meaty and gelatinous, they are knife and fork warm-weather food.  The day before, I braise them, low and slow, for about 4 hours, till they fall off the bone.  I remove the bones and transfer them to a canister, the juice separate, but reserved.  When ready to serve, you can leave the ribs whole, or pull them, adding the sauce, and use on buns or on flour tortillas for breakfast with eggs (oh baby).

I love tweaking recipes that I find.  I generally cook “freehand” (pinch of this and a handful of that).  I’ve been criticized for not being able to reproduce what I’ve made before.  I see the kitchen as a blank canvas.  Embrace the difference each time!  BUT, I managed to get down the perfect BBQ sauce recipe and everyone loves it.

While the ribs are braising, I make the BBQ sauce.  I know, I know, you’ve read a thousand recipes for sauce before, but this one is special, I assure you. It’s not too icky-sweet, and not too spicy, JUUUUST right.  You are hereby licensed to take liberties…(you just have to report back with your results = deal).

The day of the event, I remove the ribs from fridge and let them sit for a couple of hours, becoming room temp.  Once room temperature, I dip them in the sauce and reheat at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  It’s chic and yummy. Serve with slaw and tater salad (is there any other way?).

Here goes:

Saute one large sweet onion, till caramelized and medium brown.  Set aside to cool.

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

3 big cloves garlic, minced

pinch of Cayenne pepper (or to taste or eliminate)

In a blender add the cooked and cooled onion.  Add all other ingredients. Blend well.  Refrigerate.  Make ahead; it will taste better the next day.

Photo courtesy of Tom Bohannon, one of my mates at Foodie.com. It just made my mouth water to see this.