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Weekday Ribs Without the Hullabaloo

Growing up, we had ribs at least a couple of times a week. Not the tender slow roasted, competition-style ribs of today, the ribs we used to slap on the Hibachi were very plain, seasoned with just salt, pepper and the omnipresent spice of the ‘70s: garlic powder. That’s it, that’s all - and it was great.

Rain or shine, blizzard or Chinook, we ate them twice a week and I loved them. All kids like ribs it seems. In the ‘80s, we took it to another level and started squirting lemon juice on them to finish. Ooh-la-la! (Very fancy, I know.) We were yuppies back then, what can I say?!

Nowadays, when I think of making ribs for my family, I usually talk myself out of it in about five seconds. I suddenly have visions of saucy, sticky fingers touching everything I hold dear, and piles and piles of gnarly napkins everywhere. Some days, it’s just too much to even consider…

I still like the simple approach to ribs, when you can actually taste the pork you’re cooking and not just use it for a vehicle for sauce. Some of the best tasting pork in the world is from right here in Alberta, and it’s the No. 1 meat consumed globally. Alberta’s vast farmland, small farm sizes and excellent quality grain feed contribute to a superb flavor that sets Alberta pork apart from the rest.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love a saucy, tender smoked rib falling off the bone as much as the next person, but on a weekday? Forget it, that’s weekend cooking.

So how could I make weekday ribs without the hullabaloo? I know, pull up my big girl sleeves, crank up the heat, line my pan with tinfoil and make myself a seasoning. It’s still a pretty simple process - not all that much has changed, after all.

Here are a couple of recipes I came up with for weeknight ribs that are easy, different and delicious - no marinating or smoking required!

Go Mango Oven Ribs


2 racks of pork baby back ribs
1 large 454 oz. can of mangos
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3  cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. chipotle powder
½ tsp. salt
1 dash pepper

Opa! Greek Oven Ribs


2 racks of pork baby back ribs
½ cup olive oil
1/3  cup Greek seasoning
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 450 Degrees F (right hot!). Line a large baking dish with tinfoil. The dish must be large enough to fit the ribs in a single layer. Place seasoned ribs in baking dish and bake uncovered on centre rack for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees. Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl to create a basting sauce. Baste ribs generously with the sauce mixture, then cover and bake for another one-and-a-half hours, basting every half-hour.

When ribs are done baking, slide them around in the thickened rib sauce that forms on the bottom of the baking dish. When coated, place on a side platter. Let cool.

To serve, fire up your grill. Adding a few charred grillings makes for extra flavor. Enjoy! Serves a family of 4 (based on half-rack of ribs per person).

Tip: You can blend up your sauce the night before and/or line a pan with foil and lay out the seasoned ribs to save yourself some time. Keep refrigerated until time to cook.

Butterfan Catering and Pop-up Buffets is a local catering company specializing in holidays, special occasions and pop-up buffets. With over 15 years experience, Butterfan produces creative and fun private, corporate and public events combining cool dècor items and catering services into one. Call Desiree at 403-861-7146 for a chat and a quote, or check out her website, Stay in the loop by following her blog, Butterfan Living,, follow her on Facebook, and Twitter @Butterfan.

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