Comfort Recipe: Slow-Cooker Balsamic Beef Ribs

22 Feb

Beef ribs get a rich flavor makeover with some deliciously unexpected ingredients.
Sometimes I get frustrated when I make ribs in the slow-cooker and the contained heat waters my sauce down to a thin broth.

So, I set out last weekend with a package of beef ribs and a mission to myself — I wanted to invent a marinade that would hold up inside the Crock Pot and still be more than broth when it was time to serve the meat.

This combination, while a little unorthodox and definitely straying from the barbecue idea a wee bit, delivered a delicious final taste and still had a thickness about it when spooned over the finished meal. Mm-mmm.

(You could easily use this marinade on a cheap beef roast in lieu of the boneless ribs as well — just increase the time on slow-cooking.)

Use boneless ribs or a cheap roast as the base for this dish.
Place about 1.5 to 2 lbs. of thawed, boneless, country-style beef ribs in the bottom of your slow-cooker. (You can make more than this; just make sure to increase the sauce so the majority of your meat stays marinated.)

BBQ + Vinaigrette + Applesauce = Awesomesauce.
In a spouted cup, combine 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing, and 1/2 cup applesauce. If that sounds weird, just remember that the goal is to create a marinade that still has weight to it in a few hours. I promise it will come out undetectable later, and no one will know you dumped applesauce over their beef. Scout’s honor.

Sprinkle the raw meat with black pepper to taste. Slowly pour the thick marinade over the beef, rearranging ribs as necessary to make sure most of the meat gets a good coating.

A lovely, thick marinade.
Cover slow-cooker and heat on LOW setting for 4-5 hours at the most. If you’re going to be at work all day and you don’t have a programmable Crock Pot timer, either use a thick beef roast instead, or don’t thaw the ribs before you put them in. This should buy you some extra simmer time.

Yum.
Serve the beef with hot marinade spooned over the top. Steamed carrots make an excellent sidekick to all that comfort food flavor.

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