Sometimes the most delicious foods aren’t the prettiest on the plate. In fact, my catering partner, Bert, who lives down the road, often said the same thing. I guess what I’m trying to say is food doesn’t have to be gussied up to be both appealing and delicious. The spare ribs and sauerkraut recipe I’m sharing fits that category. There’s no wrong way to cook this super simple supper, and no garnish needed!
Spare ribs and sauerkraut
No specific amounts. Add more or less of any ingredient. Here’s how I made it in my pressure cooker:
3 pounds pork loin spareribs
2 pounds sauerkraut
Freshly ground black pepper
Spray pressure cooker. Put ribs in, fatty side down, and sauerkraut on top. Add water, a cup or bit more just enough so sauerkraut doesn’t stick. Add pepper.
After pressure is reached, cook 15 minutes. Done!
Serve with mashed potatoes.
Best ribs to use
Maybe you like pork loin ribs, aka baby back ribs. Or the old fashioned, less meaty ribs. How about country ribs, meaty and already cut up?My site has a photo tutorial on varieties and how to use them.
Bring ingredients to a simmer, then put lid on and cook until pork reaches 140-150. You’ll know it’s done by the color change and how it will almost fall off the bone. This takes about 1 hour after it simmers, or more depending upon the amount of meat and kraut.
Preheat oven to 325. Cook, covered until pork is done. This takes about 2 hours or so.
Instant pot, slow cooker, pressure cooker
Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
To brown ribs or not to brown
I don’t, but some folks do. Add a little oil to pot, brown ribs, fatty side down. Then proceed with recipe.
Good add ins
Like a bit of sweetness? Add up to 1/2 cup brown sugar. Dice an apple and add that instead or in addition to the sugar.
NOT ALL RIBS ARE CREATED EQUAL
The type of ribs is determined by where they are located on the pig.
Baby Back/Pork Loin Ribs Make the Best Barbecue Ribs
Baby backs are the most lean and tender which makes them my go-to-ribs for perfect barbecue ribs. They’re sometimes labeled pork loin ribs and are located at the top part of the rib cage. The name “baby” comes from the fact that they are shorter than spareribs, and “back”, because they are closest to the main backbone. They are meatier than spareribs and take less time to cook.
Spareribs are cut from the bottom portion of the ribs. Spareribs are longer than baby backs and have less meat. They’re tougher with more fat. I have fond memories of mom making her homemade spaghetti sauce with spareribs. My German mother-in-law used spareribs to flavor sauerkraut. Although these ribs have a lot of flavor, they’re not the best for barbecuing.
St. Louis Ribs
St. Louis ribs are spareribs with the rib tips and brisket flap cut off to remove cartilage and gristle. St. Louis ribs have a uniform shape. We ate St. Louis barbecued ribs in Nashville. They take about the same time to cook as baby backs.
Country Style Ribs
Guess what? These thick, meaty ribs are not cut from the rib cage. They’re usually cut from the shoulder but sometimes from the loin. Not easily eaten with fingers – they’re knife and fork kind of ribs. If you use these ribs in my perfect barbecue ribs recipe, you may need to adjust the cooking time up a bit.
What is Silver Skin and Why Do You Have to Remove It?
Also called the membrane, this skin covers the bone side of each rack. If left on, it keeps seasoning from penetrating and silver skin cooks up with a leathery texture. Some ribs are sold with skin removed. If you have to remove it here’s how:
- Slide a knife under the silver skin toward the beginning of the rack, or really just about anywhere. It if resists in one spot, try another.
- Lift and loosen it with the knife until you can grab it with a paper towel.
- Pull it off. Sometimes it comes off in one log sheet; other times you have to start over with the knife.