As we prepare for the impending Hurricane Irma, we are trying to clear out our freezer which includes a lot of meat. (Read more about hurricane prep and how you can prepare your family in this post)
As we are staying and hunkering down–which is generally the best option when you live inland–we are hoping the charcoal grill outside survives so that we can have a big ‘ol BBQ afterwards. When a hurricane is imminent, I tend to prep for these by cooking a lot before I potentially lose power. I generally do baked goods for breakfast and comfort food. But, then I think about meat that can be eaten cold if needed or easily reheated in a skillet on a camp stove.
Which brings me to these amazing slow-cooked apple whiskey ribs. I actually made these ribs for Labor Day but purchased some more to slow-cook during my prep.
I have some special secret ingredients that make these ribs oh-so-delicious. And with literally 10 minutes of prep time, they are also INCREDIBLY EASY.
Because, good cooking doesn’t have to be hard….
I like to stock up on certain meats around holidays when they are on sale. Labor Day is rib season. These were a great deal and know they would be yummy after getting cooked low and slow.
First, make sure that you pat the meat dry to get off any extra moisture.
You will be adding moisture into the slow cooker, but removing some of the “meat hydration” (I totally made that term up) will help you later when you broil.
I then put together a dry rub with some classic BBQ elements— 1/4 C of Brown Suger, 1 T of Paprika, 1 tsp of Garlic Powder with a dash of salt.
If you’re brave, you can add some cayenne pepper to taste, which I did. Mr. L probably would have preferred more, but it worked for my milder taste.
Mix together all of the dry spices. Make them be friends. They will play nice, I promise.
Time to reveal the ingredient that gives this recipe a little extra “oomph”
Whiskey. #sorrynotsorry. I have dear friends who refuse to cook with alcohol and I completely respect that conviction. However, alcohol is a natural meat tenderizer. It can really can add an extra level of flavor when used properly in cooking. Plus, the alcohol component cooks off.
I only use a teeny bit (about 1 tablespoon) mixed with 1/4 c. of apple juice to give this meat a tart, apple undertone with a bit of bite.
Dump the apple juice/whiskey combo into the bottom of your slow cooker and add a layer of chopped onion. I use about half a medium, white onion. You certainly do not need to be exact.
Side note, I sing its praises every time I write a slow-cooker post, but I LOVE my programmable crock-pot slow cooker. The timer ensures that I get perfectly cooked meat every.single.time.
Rub your dry rub into your meat.
Then plop that massaged and happy meat on top of the liquid and onions in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Once you have your liquid, onions and dry rub in place in the crock-pot, you are a mere 2 seconds away from being good to go!
Mix about 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce ( I used Kraft Hickory Smoke) with a couple of tablespoons of honey.
Pour all the sauciness over your meat.
At this point, you can either slow cook the ribs right away, or you can prepare the meat the night before and let sit in the crock in the fridge overnight. ( As I am not a morning person, letting the meat get all happy overnight is my preferred method)
Whenever you are ready, turn the slow-cooker on low and let it do its thang for about 8 hours.
After cooking, remove to a foil-lined, metal baking pan ( an 11X17 cookie sheet works best), brush on some additional BBQ sauce and broil in your oven on high for 3-5 minutes to get a nice crispy, charred crust.
This part is optional, but you won’t be sorry you did it.
Remove and serve.
No grill or hours of prep-time necessary!
These ribs fell of the bone and are so delicious, I could eat the meat cold if necessary.
Please keep Florida in your prayers this weekend and bon appetit!
Update: We were fine after the storm…but, unfortunately, Florida is prone to these. For more info on how you can help after a natural disaster, check out this post I wrote post-Irma.