Cast Iron Pans Cast iron pan owners swear by them for their even dispersal of heat and non stick nature. However, iron is not as happy go lucky as other metals. Initially, the pan must be seasoned with vegetable oil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. Each time you heat the pan with oil, it will season till it obtains a beautiful dark color. Don't wash off the black patina thinking it is dirty. In fact, never use soap or scour the pan or you will remove the essence of the pan. Dry your iron pan on the stove with medium heat but watch it so it doesn't burn.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
How could just salt and pepper season pork sufficiently to make your mouth water? That's what I said to my wife when she suggested this basic seasoning approach for baby back ribs. She insisted it was the way they often season their pork in the Philippines so I relented and gave it a try. She said to massage the salt and pepper into the meat so I did for a few minutes.
I wasn't totally sold so I made one rack with just salt and pepper but added garlic powder and brown sugar to the second rack. You can see the yellowish tinge of the garlic powder on the rack at the right. You can't really see the brown sugar as it has dissolved into the meat as it does after ten minutes or so.
Always remove the silverskin from the back of the ribs. It allows the ribs to cook more evenly, absorb rubs better and it's just tough to eat even when cooked. Just stick your fingers under the silverskin on one side and separate it from the meat and bone. Gradually work it till you can grab it with your hand and you should be able to pull it off quite easily.
I like to place the ribs on a Cooling Rack inside a Jelly Roll Pan. I feel it allows the heat to circulate better so the rib is cooked evenly and quickly, especially with a convection oven. It also prevents the edge of the ribs from touching the hot pan which could make it cook unevenly. If your wife won't let you use her cookie cooling rack for meat, just use a pan. The concave shape of the rack should allow heat to work it's way under the rib. I'm just being a perfectionist.
Cooking ribs in the oven is easy setting your oven to 225 degree Fahrenheit and drinking beers with your buddies for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The amount of time depends on the thickness of your loin ribs and the type of oven you have so get to know your oven. Regardless of your oven, low and slow is the way to go with ribs so they come out nice and juicy. I have a Viking Convection Oven which has a setting for convection roast that works great on ribs!
Well, my wife was right! I liked the ribs with just the salt and pepper better than with the addition of garlic powder and brown sugar. Simple is sometimes the best recipe. It certainly makes dinner a much easier process without the need to mix a complicated rub. Don't get me wrong, I love my All Purpose Dry Rub but sometimes you just want something easy.
Remove the silverskin from the back of the rib for better seasoning penetration, more even cook and more tender meat.
Massage the salt and pepper into the meat for a few minutes. Depending on the weight of the ribs, you may need to add more or less salt. Figure approximately 3/4 of a teaspoon per pound of meat.
Cook at 225 degree Fahrenheit for 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on thickness of rib and type of oven. Convection ovens tend to cook faster.
Let your ribs sit on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes before slicing so the juices have a chance to reabsorb into the meat.
Salt and papper are underrated. My grandmothers pretty much used only salt, pepper, aromatic vegetables, a few herbs. They were spectacular cooks. Love that you gave a thumbs up for s & p. Have a beautiful foody day, Gretchen.
Now getting the right amount of salt is the hard part. Pepper is harder to over season but it can be done lol. I like to use about 3/4 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. A little more a little less depending on your palette.