For Neil’s birthday I made him country style pork ribs. I knew (since this was a Birthday Dinner) that I wanted a fancy recipe. And living in the 21st century of course I started online. But of all the recipes I found 90% told me “chop an onion, slow cook the ribs with that and a bottle of BBQ sauce.”
Now don’t get me wrong, we love BBQ sauce just fine. In fact, Neil makes a delicious BBQ sauce that we keep in a tub at the back of the fridge. But that just seemed too easy for a Birthday Dinner.
One recipe mentioned apples and bourbon and I thought hey, how hard can this be? So I made my own recipe. And in order to counteract all the bottle ‘o sauce recipes out there: I’m sharing it with you. So here is my very own slow-cooked Apple and Honey country pork rib recipe:
1 package of pork ribs ~5lbs
1/2C dry beans
1 beer any flavor (I used a red and I’d recommend something on the lighter side of the scale so it doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors. Stout would be delicious in it’s own way)
2 cloves of garlic and garlic powder
1 large apple (or 2 small apples if you’ve got a lot of them lying around from going apple picking this fall)
3 Tbsp honey
salt, pepper, savory, and thyme
Note: I cooked this in a cast iron dutch oven inside my oven. You could, I’m sure, do the same thing in your crock pot. You might have to add a little to the times I list on the high setting, or double the length of everything and set it to low heat (I’d say go for 4-6 hrs total on high, and 8-10 on low.)
Heat your oven to 250F. Sprinkle your dry beans* in the bottom of the dutch oven. Place the pork ribs on top, layer them as evenly as possible.
Open the beer, pour half into a glass to enjoy. Pour one quarter of the remaining beer (4oz) over the ribs. Slice the garlic thinly and lay it on top of the ribs. Sprinkle on about 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, along with a dash of salt and pepper.
Put the lid on and place it in the oven. Allow the ribs to slow cook for 1.5 hours.
Pull the ribs out of the oven and flip them. Add the remaining 4oz of beer. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of honey over the ribs. Peel the apple, slice it and place the slices on top of the ribs. Drizzle on the remaining Tbsp of honey, and add a dash more of garlic, salt, and pepper. Add about 1/2 tsp of thyme, and 1/2 tsp of savory.
Note: If you don’t have savory you could use rosemary. It’ll be different but still delicious. Also, I love savory, it’s great on all kinds of pork dishes.
Put the lid back on and put the ribs back into the oven. Turn it up to 300F and cook for another 1.5hrs. I actually cooked it for another 2 hrs since I was waiting for the winter squash to finish up, but I’m sure it’d be fall-off-the-bones tender in 1.5. The great thing about the lid on the cast iron dutch oven is moisture doesn’t escape so you don’t have to worry about the ribs drying out.
I served these ribs with acorn squash roasted with brown sugar in the hollow, and garlic mashed potatoes. This time of year everything except the spices are locally sourced. Autumn is a great time of year to be a localvore!
*None of the recipes I saw included beans. Seriously?? Beans are delicious with pork, and they soak up the juices. Why would you NOT include beans?