How to Cook Riblets

Do you know what riblets are?

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If you love pork ribs – baby back, spare, or St. Louis – you should, as they are on sale this week for 99 cents a pound at certain stores.

Do you ever notice that the spare ribs, St. Louis ribs, and baby back ribs are all squared off when you purchase them?  Well, they don’t grow that way!  The riblets are the tips of the ribs, removed to make the expensive rib cuts look more uniform.  Once discarded (or cherished by the butcher’s family, more like) they never really had a place until Applebee’s restaurant put them on their menu.  And, they go through a lot of riblets!

So, how do you cook the riblets?  Just like your ribs.  Low and slow.  Some like to boil them, or steam them to tenderized them, and then finish them in the oven or on the grill to crisp them up.

Me?  Well, honestly this is the first time I’ll be cooking these, but I’ll be cooking them the same way I look to cook the other ribs: Put them in a sealed bag to evenly distribute the seasonings- lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, adobo,  some of Paul Prudhomme’s salt-free seasoning, a drop of liquid smoke and a drop of hot sauce, and then removed from the bag and placed in a baking dish, sealed with aluminum foil to keep in the juices, and braised in the oven for several hours.  Bake at a low temp (250 fahrenheit) for 2 to 4 hours.

After checking for falling-off-the-bone tenderness, remove the foil, baste with your favorite barbeque sauce (if desired) and let brown at 400 degrees to bake the sauce in.  I only do half with the sauce as we are a house divided.  You could also use a hoisin glaze, a spicy asian-sesame glaze, glaze with pepper jelly, orange marmalade….the possibilities are endless!

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