Once upon a time, I was a strict vegan. Like super strict, checking if there is milk protein extract in the salad dressing I was buying (yes, ironically I was buying something so easy to make). That lasted for a couple of years. And then, for a much longer time, I was vegetarian. I found veganism too difficult and too full of garbage, to be honest. I bought a lot of packaged things then and just didn’t like all of the garbage I was generating. Yes, you can do it with little garbage. I didn’t know how then. I was also a full time student who was also working. And I got tired of beans.
Anyway, I’m vegetarian and mostly vegan when I’m eating in a restaurant. I don’t aim to alienate those hosting me when I’m eating at someone’s house so I pretty much eat whatever’s on offer. A compromising of my principles? I suppose. I suspect though, if more people ate the way my family does the fast food industry would largely be out of business and farmers wouldn’t be cramming as many cows as they can into feedlots to maximize sales.
Oh, and we eat a lot of the undesirable bits. Not the offal - yet - but the tough cuts that no one wants. I have learned to braise in the past few years and there is nothing like those tough, undesirable cuts after cooking low and slow for 8 hours. The other cuts just don’t have the same flavour or ooomph! I was talking with a beef/cow farmer about the flavour of meat and how that’s gone out of our cooking. The first flavour should be the cow or the pig or the chicken - the marinade, the braise, the sauce, the gravy should enhance that flavour. That was the biggest shock to me when I switched from grocery store meat to growing my own. There was a flavour that I just couldn’t believe.
Anyway, at some point I’ll explain why I’m no longer vegan and why I think veganism (and definitely vegetarianism) is (generally) just as hard on animals as factory farming but for now, here’s what’s on for tonight.
So, I've started with an assortment of ribs. There are both beef and pork, short ribs, back ribs, side ribs, and even some riblets. To these I have added brown sugar and three onions, chopped.
And then things start to go a little crazy...
In here I've got homemade ketchup to which I've added a small jar of homemade hotsauce and one of homemade beer mustard (yes, I am that person). In goes red wine (lots) and apple cider vinegar.
That sauce is added AFTER I sprinkle the ribs with italian seasoning, cracked black pepper, cracked whole allspice, smoked paprika, chili, and Himalayan Pink salt. Oh. And a whole head (yes, head, not clove) of the best garlic ever from the Dirty Hoe Gastro Farm. Where is the meat from you ask? A friend and I bought a couple of weaner pigs (not weiner pigs) from Karma Creek Farm/ Root and Vine Acres (so delicious). They were raised up at her house and butchered for us. The cow was raised by another friend.
So, to this deliciousness more wine and some water were added. In the dutch oven, I added Worchestershire but none to the flat pan. I don't make that and I wondered how much of a difference it makes. We shall see.
The shallow pan was covered with foil, the lid placed on the huge dutch oven and into a 250* oven they went. Yes, 250*F. They cooked low and slow for about an hour and then it was raised up to 275* where they will braise until about 5:45, or just before our friends show up to share this feast with us.