Slow baked beef ribs


I cooked beef ribs for the first time this week.* I'd only eaten ribs a couple of time before, and usually they are mostly bone, barely any meat, and coated in a sugary sauce that my taste buds like but my belly doesn't. I also assumed that it would be complicated to cook ribs at home, and that I'd need to use the BBQ or spend ages tending to them.

The ribs I cooked tasted incredible. Full of that classic, hearty beef flavour, no sugar or sauces required. Plenty of chunks of tender meat on the bone and a layer of rich, palatable fat that didn't sit in my stomach but instead made me feel energised and satisfied. Plus, beef ribs are an excellent source of B vitamins and minerals such as zinc and selenium. The ribs also contain a layer of connective tissue that is rich in health-promoting collagen and releases additional flavour.


I recently ordered an entire beast from a local cattle station and have a freezer at home full of every possible cut of beef. It's easily one of the best dietary decisions I've made - not only is it far better value to buy in bulk, it also means that I have access to local, grass fed beef on demand. The taste and texture of the meat is completely different to the meat I'd buy at the major retailers. It's tender, juicy, hearty in flavour and a deep red in colour. While I had to pay a fair amount of money for the beef and a freezer to store it, I now don't have to pay inflated retail prices for sub-par meat.


To be completely honest, I didn't have any idea of the different kinds of ribs before this attempt to cook them. After a DIY online crash course on all things beef ribs, I learned that I had a cooked a combination of back ribs (a rack of 7 bones trimmed from the outside of the rib eye meat) and short ribs (bigger and meatier).

For a marinade, I decided to keep it simple. I didn't use any sugar, molasses, honey or pre-made sauces. I opened my pantry and created a basic dry rub out of some of my favourite herbs, spices and rock salt.

A quick dry rub, minimal time to marinate, and into the oven to bake for about four hours. It's easy, delicious and looks impressive. And it's perfectly acceptable (if not mandatory) to use your hands and teeth to pick the bone clean. It's a win, win.


Slow baked beef ribs

Succulent beef ribs, juicy and full of flavour

Prep time: 10 minutes to prepare the rub, and 2 hours to refrigerate and marinade

Cook time: 4 hours +

Difficulty: Fail proof

Ingredients

  • Beef ribs (ask your butcher and try different cuts of back and short ribs to see what you prefer)

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Paprika, ground (3 parts)

  • Oregano, dried (2 parts)

  • Cumin, ground (1 part)

  • Chilli powder, ground (1 part)

  • Rock salt, ground (1 part)

Equipment

  • Oven proof trays

  • Aluminium foil

Method

  1. Lightly coat the ribs in olive oil.

  2. Mix paprika, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt to prepare the rub. Generously apply rub to front, back and sides of ribs. Add more olive oil if it's too dry.

  3. Refrigerate ribs for 2 to 3 hours to marinate.

  4. After marinating, preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius.

  5. Use a long sheet of foil to line the baking tray. Use enough foil so that half of the sheet of foil covers the entire tray.

  6. Place ribs in a single layer on top of the foil on the tray. Place the other half of the foil on top of the ribs and fold the edges to seal for cooking.

  7. Bake for 4 hours. You can continue to cook for longer if desired.

  8. Remove from oven and drain oil. Rather than simply discard it, I used some of the oil as a dressing for steamed green vegetables, like broccoli.

  9. Enjoy hot and don't be afraid to use your hands!


* And second time. Full disclosure - about 48 hours after my first attempt, it was time for round 2.