Binging with Babish: Ribwich from The SimpsonsFeb 27, 2020
Homer: "A Ribwich, please!" "Oooh, now no lettuce!" Hey, what's up guys? Welcome back to Binging with Babish, where this week we take a look at the curious case of the Ribwich, a rib sandwich that contains no ribs. So right off the bat we are breaking the rules by doing a dry rub for our ribs. We start with a cup of brown sugar, a tablespoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of dry mustard, half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a nice regular paprika shake because. .. why not?
Then, like any dry dough, we must season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, approximately 2 teaspoons each. Whip them up as best you can and be sure to taste the seasoning. Remember, if your dry dough doesn't taste good, you won't taste good. Wow, I'm sorry you had to see that. Now we're into the wet rub, I guess you'd call it? A heady mix of about 4 parts yellow mustard to 1 part ketchup, and maybe about 1 part liquid smoke. I know all you BBQ aficionados are shaking their heads at me, but we're trying to solve the riddle of baked ribs that we're going to make into a sandwich anyway.
Save your energy for the summer. Speaking of ribs, the first thing we need to do with our ribs is tear off the papery membrane on the back of each rib. Paper towels make it easier to grip the membrane, which sounds like a dirty saying, but it's not. We're then brushing each surface with our mixture of mustard, ketchup, and liquid smoke, and then using it as sort of a glue for our dry rub. We're starting with the bottom of our ribs and then repeating at the top. At this point, your house should completely smell like barbecue. If not, I would check the expiration dates on your spices.
Anyway, we're stacking these ribs high and then wrapping them in the strategically placed plastic wrap that we've put on the table, and then we're refrigerating them for at least 8 hours and up to 24. A whole day later and we're going to unwrap our ribs and place them on a rimmed baking sheet and then we're going to put that in the freezer, because we're going to place them in a very hot oven. This method comes courtesy of America's Test Kitchen, whose key step is to smoke the ribs with lapsang tea, which is pretty clever because it has its own inherent smokiness, so we're going to spread out 6 lapsang tea bags on our other rimmed baking sheet. in which we are going to put a grid inside.
And then I'm going to make a big lid out of aluminum foil by fusing 2 sheets together at the seam, like this. I don't want smoke coming out. Speaking of which, here they come our ribs after their 45 minute stint in the freezer, during which time our oven has also been preheated to 500°F with a pizza stone in it to make sure all that heat gets transferred to the tea. . . Once our package is tightly packed, we place it in the oven at 500° for 30 minutes and then remove it, turn the heat down to 250°F and pour a beer into the corner of our baking sheet.
This will steam the ribs and help them become very, very tender over the next hour and a half that they will spend in this oven at 250°F. Now, for the last 30 minutes of cooking, we are going to make a quick and easy barbecue sauce starting with half a grated onion and 3 crushed garlic cloves. These are the aromatics that we are going to fry in a small saucepan, together with a drizzle of vegetable oil over medium heat for about 2 or 3 minutes, until everything is soft and fragrant, in a good way. Then we add about a tablespoon of chili powder, let it roast for another 30 seconds or so, and then add a cup of tomato sauce, along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses for sweetness and color, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, about a teaspoon of Worctfshersire sauce, a little shake of cayenne pepper, about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, and that's it.
And then we're going to whisk all these guys together, cover and cook on low for 20 minutes. Then we're going to keep this guy warm until the ribs are ready to use, which is true. For this application, what we are looking for is that the bone can be twisted with little resistance, although it is still attached to the meat. But we still have a step to go here and that's the second coat of paint. Starting at the bottom of the ribs, we will generously cover them with our freshly made barbecue sauce. and then place them under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Then we're going to flip these meat side up and repeat, brushing lovingly with barbecue sauce and placing under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden and crisp. You can keep repeating this if you want, but I'll stop here because, dare I say, it's sandwich time. My plan was to just take the bones out and make some sort of boneless rib patties, but these ribs weren't meaty enough and ended up falling apart. But I think that's going to make a really good sandwich. The Ribwich may not have lettuce, but if it's modeled after the McRib, that means thinly sliced white onion and dill pickles, all on top of a soft and fluffy submarine roll.
Let's layer some nice boneless ribs on top, give it a nice second layer with barbecue sauce, and then lovingly place some onions and pickles on top. It was at that moment that I realized, I'm not making the show's food, I'm doing a tribute to the show's food, and sometimes that's okay. In this case, I wanted to recreate the almost illegal, pupil-dilating, blood-pressure-raising nature of Ribwich, and I have to say, in that spirit, this is a pretty close approximation. It's also a chance to check out baked ribs, a challenge faced by anyone who's given up lawn mowing for apartment living, and there's definitely a great technique to take here, enough to get half of this sandwich at the Clean Half-Sandwich Club.
Wait, I have to take this half in the other room for... "analysis". ♪♪
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