Sometimes you just need to fangirl a little bit.
I once shouted at Stephanie Klein, one of my favorite authors/bloggers, at a book event in Bryant Park. When it was my turn in line to get my book signed I exploded in her face, “I cancelled my gyno appointment to be here.” Words cannot describe the Kanye West enthusiasm that I displayed.
Then I was almost mowed over by the Secret Service when Chris Stover and I tried to interview Chelsea Clinton during a campaign stop in 2008. The hand holding my microphone was swiftly pushed aside as I stood there beaming and pleading to, “just ask Ms. Clinton one question!”
My least embarrassing but most recent fangirl incident was Michael Solomonov, the chef at Zahav. It is my favorite restaurant. The first time I took Marc to Zahav we had a late-night reservation and as we swiped laffa through hummus I spotted Solomonov walking around the dining room. A few Goldstars later Marc flagged down Solomonov so I could get weird at him.
He was endlessly kind and asked if we lived in Philly. I said, “Oh no, we live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland,” shrugging off the locale. He perked and said, “Where? I got married on the Eastern Shore. Adam’s Ribs catered my wedding.”
Whaaaa? Adam’s Ribs. The unassuming restaurant with the giant sign that I passed multiple times a week while zipping around Wicomico County. Really? Hmph, why did I not know the chef that I fangirl for liked that restaurant?
I never did end up eating at Adam’s while living on the shore, the only time I stepped foot in the restaurant was for a story about growlers. But it has stuck with me that the food is probably pretty damn good.
I’ve never seen ribs on the menu at Zahav but for big groups you can get a lamb shoulder that is smoked at Solomonov’s BBQ restaurant, Percy Street, and then bathed in pomegranate molasses. That sounds like some damn good barbecue and I’m sure Adam’s Rib would put it on their menu, so why not mine.
The recipe for the lamb shoulder is in the Zahav cookbook but I don’t have the fridge space for a giant lamb shoulder or the patience for a dish that takes multiple days to come to fruition.
But I love short ribs, they are one of my favorite cuts of beef, and decided they would be delicious slathered in pomegranate barbecue sauce. They also take up a lot less fridge space than a whole lamb shoulder. Short ribs are high on my list of meats because they aren’t too expensive, usually they’re pretty meaty and easily shred off the bone for people who aren’t into manhandling their meat.
I lack a smoker, or a grill, or anything to cook meat outside but always have perfect ribs thanks to SmittenKitchen. She wraps her ribs, usually spare ribs, in a tight foil packet and then dry roasts them in a low oven for hours. It’s a method that works every time for me. Before roasting the ribs, I shower them with a spice rub made up of yummy flavors you’ll find at Zahav; smoked paprika, sumac, fennel, and zatar among others.
Then when the ribs are done I carefully open the foil packet and try not to be burned by the hot steam that comes flooding out. Barring any third degree burns the ribs get slathered in a barbecue sauce fortified with pomegranate molasses. So tangy, so rich.
And then if I had a grill I would finish the saucy pomegranate ribs there but I do not so the sauced up ribs take a trip under the broiler to develop caramelized crispy edges. The kind of edges that just beg you to pick up a rib and tear off the saucy meat with your teeth as quickly as you can. That is usually what happens to me once these pomegranate ribs are cool enough to handle.
- 3 pounds bone in beef short ribs
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon Sumac
- 1 tablespoon Zatar
- ½ teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon Fennel
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons of spice rub
- ¼ cup Pomegranate molasses
- ⅓ cup Apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup Honey
- 1 cup ketchup
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Stir together the spice rub ingredients and shower the ribs generously with the mixture. Use all but three tablespoons of the rub.
- On a piece of foil large enough to wrap your ribs with, place the ribs meatier side down and close up the foil like a packet. Make sure to wrap the ends of foil tightly so the fat and juice doesn't escape the packet while cooking.
- Gently place the packet onto a baking sheet, to protect yourself against leaks, and roast in the oven for 3 hours.
- In a saucepan, saute the chopped onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. You want the onion and garlic to soften but not brown.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer over low heat for an hour to thicken. For a thinner sauce you can strain out the onion and garlic. If you want a thicker sauce then blend the sauce with the garlic and onion in a food processor or blender.
- Carefully open the foil packet of meat, there will be a lot of hot steam in the packet so keep your face back.
- Gently turn the ribs so the meatier side of each rib is facing up. If there are any large pieces of fat on the top of your ribs feel free to cut them off.
- Turn your broiler on and brush each rib with a generous amount of barbecue sauce.
- Broil the ribs until the sauce gets caramelized and the edges of the meat are crispy.
- Serve with extra barbecue sauce on the side.