Ahhh Sweets! Not! Time for Ribs!

Good afternoon! There aren’t a lot of sweet tooth people in my family. My mother in law and I love the sweets. One of my daughters in law is very into chocolate. That’s it. The boys will take savory and spicy foods over sweets any day, so one of the things I have done is change out some of the sweeter ingredients in my recipes for something bolder. One of my first recipes in my teens was what my sister called Baked Chicken in Mistake Sauce. Basically you salted and peppered your chicken pieces, baked them, poured off the grease and painted them with mistake sauce, which was half grape jelly and half ketchup. Then it went under the broiler for a few minutes til the chicken skin started to char just a bit. I really liked it. I thought my amazing sister had invented it! I learned in later years this was a popular sauce to pour in the crock pot over cocktail meatballs or those little sausages, for parties. I liked that, too. If you have never had that, try it. It’s a sweet and sour sauce really, and it’s a quick and easy party food.

Anyway, I started experimenting with using other jams and jellies to brush on chicken. I love a whole roast chicken basted with apricot, peach, even plum flavors for the last 30 minutes of cooking. I still think that is delicious.

Well, I saw a recipe for crock pot ribs using sweet jellies in the sauce. It was okay, but it didn’t grab me. The kids always thought it was too sweet, as much as they love ribs. I had recently discovered hot pepper jellies, and thought of my poor too sweet for my family ribs. Not that they didn’t devour the ribs and lick all the sauce off the bones…. my kids are serious eaters of all things, especially meats. But I wanted to kick it up. So here is what I did:

You start with 2 packages of baby back ribs. Cut each in half so you have 4 pieces and put them in your crock pot. (You have to start in the morning: they cook at least 8 hours.) Thinly slice 2 sweet onions and mince 6 – 8 garlic cloves. Spread out over the ribs in the pot. Put the lid on, turn it on low, and walk away! Do not, no matter how tempted you may be, lift the lid for the next 8 hours. Too much heat escapes and the pot has to work back up to the correct temperature.

At the 7 hour mark, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, mix one jar (8 – 12 oz… its okay to use any amount in that range) of hot pepper jelly. Add 3/4C barbecue sauce. I like honey BBQ, it tempers the heat just a bit, but use any kind you like. Add a healthy squirt from the ketchup bottle, and as many shakes from the hot sauce bottle as you like. I use about 4. Whisk all that together well. At the 8 hour mark you can lift the lid. The ribs should be very tender and starting to fall apart. Remove as much cooking liquid as you possibly can without losing your garlic & onions. I use a turkey baster. Pour your lovely and amazing sauce over the ribs, moving the ribs around very gently to coat them with sauce but not break them up. Put the lid back on, turn the heat up to high, and in about 20 minutes everything should be heated through. Now they are really going to be falling apart. Lift them gently out of the pot onto a serving platter. Spoon some sauce over them. That is it, my friends! My gang likes these ribs with cole slaw and mashed potatoes, or corn and mashed potatoes. My kids and their kids all love these ribs. Shane adds cayenne pepper and more hot sauce! But he’s like that. The hotter the better for him. Without adding any more heat though, these are mild to moderately spicy and sweet and amazingly delicious. I have also used HPJ (hot pepper jelly, lol) to baste chicken, but that is another story for another day. I have not found anyone yet who thought these ribs were too hot and spicy. My kids love these. And I think they love me a little more for making them! I have a friend who grows her own peppers and makes her own HPJ. Now that makes some fabulous rib sauce. But a jar from the store makes it just delicious as well.

I would seriously love to hear from any of you fine folks out there who try my recipes. I love to sit at the table and watch my family and friends eat the food I have lovingly prepared for them, and enjoy it so much! So please, tell me how much you and yours enjoy Grammy’s Treats and Eats. As always, it’s been a pleasure sharing with you!

Love, Grammy

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