I LOVE IT when my children get their words messed up. At age 7, 10, and 13, they don’t do it as often as they used to, but we still like to relive the funny food-related ones. My middle son, Josh, was notorious for creating his own food words spaghetti became skip-hetti, oatmeal became opa-meal, and pound cake became bang pie. Yes, really.
Then there was this one particular meal where we were having boneless country-style pork ribs. Josh proclaimed “this is the BEST chicken you’ve ever made, Mom!” We still laugh about that one every time we eat pork - it goes something like this:
“What’s for dinner, Mom?”
“The best chicken you’ve ever tasted.”
“Oh great! We’re having pork!”
Yep, I love those inside food jokes It’s so goofy and silly, but things like that can really draw families closer. Food and laughter can be the “glue” that holds a family together even when things get hectic. Gathering the family around the table and laughing are some of the best moments of my day Granted, there are those times of frustration and arguments around the dinner table, but hopefully those aren’t the ones we remember. I hope when I get old that my children remember that Mom made the best chicken ever on pork night!
With that in mind, I was thinking that pork ribs would be wonderful to serve on Labor Day. We don’t have ribs very often, as I always thought they were too complicated. Some of the recipes I’ve seen require advanced preparation of dry rubs and marinating, or too many steps and processes. I tried to simplify things, using one cooking method (braising), and your favorite prepared barbeque sauce. Something was missing , though. I wanted it to be more “Alaskan”, more “local”...
One of my favorite easy meatball appetizers has BBQ sauce and cranberry sauce combining for a sweet and savory result. I didn’t have the energy to pull out my frozen low bush cranberries and make my own cranberry sauce, but low and behold, I had some fresh raspberries right there on the counter! I have a great friend that gives me gallons of raspberries from his garden every year (jealous?). I mashed some up, adding some sugar to make a quick jam, and added it to the sauce. The results were SO good! The kids gobbled them up and asked for more “chicken”!
EASY PORK RIBS WITH RASPBERRY BBQ SAUCE
Serves 4, but easily doubled
*If fresh raspberries are not available, 1 cup of raspberry jam can be substituted. If you use raspberry jam or jelly, the sauce (after cooking the meat) will be thicker because of the pectin, and likely will not need to be reduced as above.
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Place a length of aluminum foil, longer than the ribs, on a baking sheet. Season ribs with salt and pepper to taste. Place skin side up on prepared foil. In a small sauce pan, mash raspberries, adding sugar on medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add BBQ sauce and stir. Brush on ribs, with a majority of the sauce on the bottom meaty side. Save ¼ cup of sauce.
Place another length of aluminum foil on top, folding edges together to seal. Bake in preheated oven for two hours.
Carefully unseal foil, being cautious of the escaping steam. Transfer pork ribs to a cutting board using tongs. If sauce is thin, drain into a saucepan and reduce on high for about 7 minutes or until thickened. Add the ¼ cup reserved sauce. Cut the ribs between the bones using kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Serve with sauce.
Great chicken, mom!
Jennifer McGovern is a native of Haines where she grew up picking berries in the wilderness, and picking shrimp straight off the boat. A dietitian and mother of 3, Jennifer understands the challenge of juggling a busy schedule while trying to provide nourishing food for the family. She also tries to teach her children that food doesn't originate in the grocery store, and to appreciate the food that Alaska has to offer. This is why her freezer is full of berries, moose, and seafood. She is passionate about cooking and feeding her family, and is excited to share recipes and ideas for feeding your Alaska family!