I am what many would call a "Foodie" - amateurs who simply love food and/or drink for consumption, study, preparation and news.
Now the statement above should make it clear that I do not have any formal training when it comes to food preparation. I have, however, been told that I am a pretty good cook and I hope you enjoy reading this column as much as I enjoy writing it.
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One of the perks of writing this column is the occasional invitation to judge a food contest. Tom and Alicia Voell of Hideaway Bar & Grill, Okauchee were kind enough to invite me back to judge their second rib cookoff in May, along with restaurateur Hans Weissgerber, State Representative Joel Kleefisch and newbies Oconomowoc Town Chairman Bob Hulquist, Bill Meyers of Everdry Basement Waterproof and Buck’s announcer and morning radio show producer of 102.9 The Hog’s “Bob and Brian Show,” Erick “Rock” Jensen.
This year’s competition featured 14 contests and included entrants from all over Lake Country including Ashippun, Hartland, Oconomowoc, Genesee Depot, Sussex and more. The top prize went to brothers Andy and Tom Hoffmann of Oconomowoc with Don Lee of Okauchee taking second and Tony Guardalabene and Chris Schult, both of Oconomowoc, tying for third. In addition to the rib cookoff the Voell’s also offer a meat raffle during the event with proceeds going to the Okauchee Fourth of July Fireworks fund.
Many of the ribs we tried were savory or spicy, but this next recipe is one I found at TasteofHome and delivers a sweet and tangy flavor with an Asian twist.. enjoy.
6 pounds pork spareribs
1½ cups ketchup
¾ cup packed brown sugar (may cut down to ½ cup)
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup honey (may cut down to ¼ cup)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce (my addition)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut ribs into serving-size pieces (I didn’t), place with the meaty side up on racks in two foil-lined 13-by- 9-inch baking pans, cover tightly with foil and bake for 1¼ hours (I baked at 325 for 2 hours) or until meat is tender. While the recipe doesn’t call for seasoning the ribs before baking, I like to add a little salt and pepper to the meat before baking. Remember there is a lot of sodium in the soy sauce, so go easy if you do season before baking.
While the ribs are cooking combine the remaining ingredients and set aside. (While I made the recipe as the recipe calls for, I did find the sauce a bit too sweet and would cut the sugar and honey as stated in parenthesis in the ingredients’ list. A little hot sauce or pepper flakes also helps.)
Remove the racks from the pans, drain the ribs if necessary and return them to the pans. Pour the sauce over the ribs and bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until sauce coats the ribs, basting them occasionally. Ribs can also be grilled over medium-hot heat for the last 35 minutes instead of baking.
The original recipe calls for greasing the pans but I found this unnecessary and substituted lining the pans with foil for easier cleanup instead. If 6 pounds of ribs is too much to handle, just cut it down to 3 then bottle the rest of the sauce and serve it over pork or chicken for another meal.