There is something special about seeing a platter full of ribs at the dinner table. As a Cameroonian-bred, Texas-raised child, I remember looking forward to summertime barbeques with friends and family, however, since mom didn’t know how to use an outside grill, she perfected roasting ribs right in her kitchen oven. This was incredible because it allowed us to enjoy ribs year-round. Mom prepared ribs the good old Ghuzang Village way, using heavy notes of ginger and habanero peppers. I wish I can describe the flavor that was held within each rib. I mean, it was so good that my siblings and I would fight over the last one. At first, my sister always won, until my brother outgrew and out-ate us both. (VIDEO or SCROLL for full Text Recipe)
As much as we ate ribs, I never had barbeque sauce as a child in my parent’s home. It wasn’t until I became an adult and attended an American barbeque that I tried ribs with this sweet, classic sauce. It was literally loved at first bite. The only downfall was the lack of spice. I created Sweet n’ Heat BBQ Sauce with a blend of spices and flavors in honor of my west African, American-influenced tongue. This recipe is one of my favorites because it embodies both my African roots and American culinary influences.
Pork or beef ribs (1 rack or 8-10 ribs sliced)
White distilled vinegar
1 tsp Smoked paprika
3 tsp, or small blocks of Beef bouillon (Maggie cube)
1 tsp Mixed peppercorn
1 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Cayenne pepper
Grab your favorite marinade (or Neatta’s green sauce marinade recipe)
Wash ribs in cool water. Add 4 tbs vinegar and lemon juice and wash well, strain, then pat dry.
In a mixing bowl, add ribs and your seasonings and mix well.
Add your favorite homemade or shelf to kitchen marinade, mix well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight if time allows. The longer you marinade, the juicer the rib.
In a cast iron skillet, heat up ½ - ¾ cup of vegetable oil (depending on size of pan) on medium high heat.
Add a few slices of onion to add flavor to the oil, then remove after 1 minute
Drop one rib at a time into the pan until the pan is filled.
Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until the skin turns light golden brown.
Remove once all sides attain this color, setting them on a cooling rack to allow oil to drain.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Once drained, place 4-5 ribs on one large sheet of foil, then cover then with another foil sheet. This should look like a sandwich at this point, with the foil surface extending beyond the ribs on all sides.
Fold in the excess foil edges to form a cocoon for your ribs, allowing zero air pockets. This will trap in all the steam while the ribs cook, allowing for a tender and juicy outcome.
Place ribs (2 bundles) on the top oven rack
Place a water filled drip pan on the bottom oven rack. Add 2 tbs of liquid smoke to the water
Bake for 2 hours or until the meat is tender to touch, occasionally refilling the drip pan to prevent dry-out.
Remove ribs from oven once tender and allow to cool for 5 minutes before opening the foil.
Place ribs into mixing bowl and add Neatta’s Sweet n’ Heat BBQ sauce as desired.
Place ribs on baking sheet, returning them into the oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until barbeque sauce begins to coagulate / melt into the ribs.
Remove ribs from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Serve with fresh sliced onion and green onion garnish and a side of Neatta’s Sweet N Heat BBQ Sauce.