There are a couple of staples that my spice cabinet is never without because they help make meal prep so much easier. One is an “Italian Seasoning” salt-free herb blend, and the other is a vegetable and spice mix. Blend them together with a little olive oil and you have an instant rub for every roast or chicken feast.
If you throw in a couple of other easy techniques, what might otherwise be a long, arduous process to get a meal together now becomes a quick task. Even better is preparing something that everyone actually wants to eat.
Spareribs are one of those cuts of meat that gets passed off as something that takes so much effort to prepare. When you start disregarding the “rules” sometimes things become more simplified. In this case, there is no hours-long smoking, painstaking basting, or overnight marinating, and yet you will still be rewarded with extremely tender, flavorful, and juicy ribs that will be done in roughly an hour from start to finish. I think that’s pretty darned good, don’t you?
The secret, aside from the seasoning, is roasting the ribs in a sealed foil pouch. This allows for the juices to stay around the meat instead of evaporating away, and also helps speed up the cooking process without compromising on taste or tenderness. There are a few Greek recipes that use this technique called “Κλεφτικο” (KLEF-tee-koh), which actually translates to “thief”. The rebels that fought for Greek independence from the Turks would cook their food in parchment paper pouches to keep the smells from giving them away! The “thief” name came in because the soldiers would come and steal food from the Turks occupying the Greek villages.
Easy Weeknight Spareribs Recipe
For each 3-4 lb. full rack of pork spareribs you will need:
- 1-2 Tbsp. or more to taste of an herb seasoning mix (my favorite is McCormick’s Italian Seasoning blend), or an equal blend of oregano, rosemary, thyme, and basil
- 1-2 Tbsp. or more to taste of a spice blend (I like Costco’s Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning), choose one that has a mix of seasonings including garlic, onion, and various vegetables
- 1 tsp. salt, if your seasoning blends are salt-free, otherwise you likely won’t need to add any more
- Pepper to taste, if there is not already pepper in the seasonings you use
- 1-2 Tbsp. or more of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450° F.
Measure out a large enough stretch of aluminum foil (heavyweight is best to avoid tearing) that will be able to completely wrap each rack of ribs you intend to prepare with enough extra to fold the edges to make a seal. Lay the foil into a roasting pan large enough to hold the ribs, and drizzle olive oil on the inside of the foil and spread it around.
Mix the seasonings together and add the olive oil to create a thick slurry. Add more olive oil or seasonings as needed. Rub the seasonings to completely cover all sides of the meat and lay the meat in the middle of the foil. Wrap the foil over the meat and fold the ends over a few times to create a seal, then fold the sides up in the same way.
Put the pan with the foil-wrapped ribs in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 350 F and continue to roast for another 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the meat to rest while still covered for about 10 minutes. When you unwrap the meat, be aware that there will be a lot of flavorful juices that you don’t want to lose, so be prepared to capture them! Any juices leftover from this dish can be used in place of some of the water for making tasty rice, or replace some of the broth used in soups for an added boost of flavor, so don’t toss it! You can store it in the freezer with other leftover juices until you’re ready to use it. And don’t forget to save any leftover bones in the freezer for making broth!) Enjoy!