Monday, July 20, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Barbecued Pork Side Ribs and Barbecue Sauce, Maltese Style

Most grocery stores are having good sales for pork side ribs.
They are available raw, in the meat department, and also pre-cooked - and in a barbecue sauce - in the frozen food and deli sections.
Ma would’ve headed straight for the raw ribs in the meat department.

Really… the frozen stuff is fine, if you’re in a rush and just cooking for two.
But, do the math: 
When I went to the store on Saturday, a box of prepared ribs (about 1 1/4 pounds, including sauce) was selling for about $15.
The raw pork side ribs were selling for $2.49 a pound.

As I said, the small box of frozen ribs will do for a couple in a rush.
But, if you’re feeding the family - and I mean the whole family - well, the prepared stuff turns those boney things into a meal of awfully pricey ribs.
Like I said, Ma would’ve headed straight for the meat department.
She wasn’t working 40 hours a week at Lily Tulip because she thought it was fun.

Pork side ribs have quite a bit of bone in them.
A quarter pound per person won’t do.
Plan on a half to a pound per person.
See why that tiny box wouldn’t go far?


The sauce can be prepared while the ribs are simmering.
Or even a few days before.
This sauce will keep, refrigerated, for about 2 weeks.
It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

If you’re cooking a large quantity of ribs, they can be simmered in the oven.
Fill a dutch oven with water and bring it to a boil.
Place the ribs in a large roasting pan that has a cover.
Pour the boiling water over the ribs.
The ribs should be covered with water.
If they’re not, boil more water and add it.
Cover, place in a 350º F oven and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

If you're cooking these ribs over a grill instead of in a broiler:
While they're simmering, prepare medium coals or medium high heat on a gas grill.
Place on grill, baste with sauce and grill until well browned, about 8 minutes.
Turn the ribs over, baste and grill another 8 minutes.

You might serve a salad and cornbread as a first course.
That helps to take the edge off everyone's appetites.
If it’s Fall or Winter, soup and bread is good, too.
Ma also killed our appetites with a big serving of pasta.

                        Barbecued Pork Side Ribs

Yield: 4 servings

Place in a Dutch oven
2 pounds pork spareribs, cut into serving-size pieces
1 small onion, quartered
Sprinkle with
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Add enough water to cover the ribs.
Bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
Drain the water out. 

Line a broiler pan or large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Place a rack or two on the cookie sheet.
Pat the ribs dry and arrange them on the rack. 

Place the broiler pan 5 inches from the heat.
Preheat the broiler.
Brush the ribs with the sauce. 

Broil for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
Remove the pan from the oven.
Turn the ribs and brush  with the sauce.
Broil another 5 minutes.

                        Barbecue Sauce

Place in a medium saucepan
1/4 Cup ketchup
1/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup cider vinegar
1/8 Cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
dash cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced

Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour over a very low heat, stirring occasionally.


  1. Margaret, I'm with you and your ma - buy the raw meat and basic ingredients and do it yourself! These sound delicious!

    1. Hi, Jean,
      It's an old favourite recipe of our family. Hope you enjoy it, too!


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