My happy days are the ones where after I come home after a long day at work, I find a new Saveur magazine waiting for me to curl up with on the sofa after dinner. Their latest issue was dedicated to the art of all things barbecue and while I absolutely adore all the slow cooked and smoky grilled meats featured, I have nowhere where I can actually make them at home. We have no outdoor space to speak of and barbecues are forbidden in our local parks.

Spare Rib Chop Dinner

I did find one recipe though that catered for us no-outdoor-spacers. I just couldn’t stop staring at the gorgeous photo of the St. Louis style barbecue ribs, where the meat is cooked in barbecue sauce, and the impetus was so great that I actually made them the next day. They are fantastic, all tender and flavourful, and the barbecue sauce recipe is delicious. As I failed to obtain some of the more American ingredients in the recipe, I fell to substituting them with whatever I had or could find and these substitutions certainly didn’t diminish the dish. Just a bit of barbecue love indoors then.

St. Louis Style Barbecue Spare Rib Chops

St. Louis Style Barbecue Spare Rib Chops
adapted from this Saveur recipe.
serves 4.

For the barbecue sauce:
4 slices streaky bacon, finely chopped
1 large chipotle en adobe, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (400g) whole, peeled tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 heaped tbsps whole grain mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I like quite a bit)

4 large pork spare rib chops
2 tbsp sunflower oil

First make the barbecue sauce. Heat a pot over medium heat and then add the bacon. Fry, stirring constantly, until all the fat renders out (if your bacon is quite lean, add a bit of oil to help it along). Add the chipotle, garlic and onions and continue frying until they are all soft. Pour in the rest of the ingredients: tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and stir thoroughly. Turn up the heat to bring it to a boil and cook it for 5 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and set aside. Prevent yourself from sticking your finger in one too many times for a taste.

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and then add the sunflower oil. When hot, lay in two of the spare rib chops and fry, turning once, until brown on both sides. Set aside and repeat with the second batch of two. Place the browned chops into a baking dish that will fit them (I used a roasting pan) and pour over the barbecue sauce to cover the chops. Bake for about 1 hour (or until the chops are cooked and tender – and a knife cuts through them easily). Serve.