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Rubbed RIBS Recipe

It's now 2/3rds of the way through the 6-week chemo/radiation initial treatment program, and my husband is feeling the side effects in several ways. We're trying all sorts of tricks to get around the changes to his sense of taste. Fatigue has decreased his appetite somewhat, but it's more a problem of "what used to taste good now tastes bad" and sometimes very bad, actually rancid. Currently proteins are much better than starches, dry or seared is better than wet or mushy, spicy is better than bland. Dry rubbed ribs from a local barbeque place (Lester's in Burlington) went over very well, so I tried my own version on boneless ribs at home after checking out a bunch of online recipes, and these also passed the taste test (yay!).

RIBS (Randomly Interchangable Barbecue Spices) Rub

3 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika (could be regular paprika + smoke seasoning)
1-1/2 teaspoons Brown Sugar (light or dark, or could be 1 teaspoon of raw or white sugar)
1 teaspoon Hot Paprika (could be cayenne or red pepper flakes, maybe use less if so)
1 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder (could be regular chili powder)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (any sort)
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder (completely optional)
1 teaspoon Black Pepper (can be less if freshly ground)
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg (could substitute/add allspice)
1/2 teaspoon Salt

These can all be combined ahead of time and kept in a jar. I used it on about 3 lbs. of boneless "country style" pork ribs, but it could be used on any meat. For the baking, the trick is "low and slow": low oven temperature, long cooking time, and keep the meat wrapped up until the end so it stays moist during the cooking.

Rub the spice mix into the ribs. If you have time, refrigerate for anywhere from 1 hour to overnight, but if you're pressed for time it's better to spend it in the baking. Wrap ribs up in foil packets and put (seam side up) on a rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 4 hours. Remove from oven, but don't turn the oven off. Open the packets carefully and save the juices. Put ribs back directly on the baking rack and return to the oven for another 1/2 hour or so. The juices can be used in something else (pour some into the water for cooking rice?) or reduced to a thicker glaze for basting the ribs. If you choose to glaze the ribs or want to use a regular barbeque sauce at the end, try putting them under the broiler for a few minutes to char them before serving.

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