Pomegranate Pork Ribs with Deconstructed Caprese Salad Bruschetta

So if you have a lazy afternoon and some time to kill, this is a perfect dish to entertain family or friends, or, all of the above!  Maybe just a nice afternoon with the fam or your significant other.  OR hey, why not just by yourself?  You deserve a bit of culinary pampering.  The pomegranate bbq sauce is very simple, very easy and the caprese bruschetta could not be more refeshing and tasty. Let's get started on the pomegranate bbq sauce.

Pomegranate BBQ Sauce 
1 12-ounce bottle 100% Pomegranate juice
2 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 shallot, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Chinese chile paste
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Ponzu  (Citrus Soy Sauce)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
(optional, but I love the bite it gives: 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar)
1 tablespoon grape seed oil

Add the oil to a small sauce pan or pot over medium-high heat.  When the oil ripples, add the shallot and garlic and saute three minutes.  Add the pomegranate juice and bring to a boil. Add all of the of the rest of the ingredients, one at a time and stir in well.  Bring to a boil, stir well and reduce the heat to low.  Allow the sauce to gently simmer partly uncovered for 45 minutes. Uncover and simmer, at the same heat, for another fifteen minutes.  Remove from the heat.  The sauce will then thicken as it cools.  If not, that is ok.  Add a teaspoon of cornstarch over medium-high heat and stir vigorously.  Bring it back to a boil and then remove from the heat altogether. Alright!  The sauce is ready!

Bring the ribs to room temperature, about 30 minutes, unwrapped. 

Pork Ribs Rub 
It is best to have a coffee or spice grinder for this.  To a spice grinder add:

2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chile molido
1 tablespoon cumin seed or powder
2 teaspoons salt'
1 rounded teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated or powdered onion
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Grind all in at the spice grinder until fine.  Place is a bowl and set aside for a minute.  Place the meat on a cutting board or plastic cutting board and generously rub the spices all over the ribs.  (Note:  There is a membrane beneath the slab you may want to remove or trim off first.  Some chefs insist on removing it and others do not, particularly those who smoke the ribs).  

Now we're getting places!

If you are going to grill the ribs, you want to have a cool side and a hot side.  The cool side is to cook them through and the hot side is to caramelize the sauce onto the meat.  It was a wonderfully rainy day, however, where I live, so I slow roasted them, foil covered,  in my oven at 250 for 2.5 hours with a tiny splash of water in the pan.  (See grill rack above). 

While the ribs were sloooooowwwwwlllyyyy roasting, I put together my Deconstructed Caprese Salad Bruschetta.  Here is what I did.  Very simple, very easy. I cubed one round of mozzarella and seeded and cubed six roma tomatoes.  I made a simple balsamic vinaigrette to marinate the cheese and tomatoes in. 

1/4 cup evoo, 1 tablespoon mirin, 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard, 1 small shallot, grated, 1 clove garlic, grated, salt and pepper and 6 basil leaves, chiffonade. I tossed the cheese and tomatoes with the marinade and set it all in the refrigerator.  

Meanwhile, I toasted several small small slices of sourdough brushed with evoo and set those aside for later. 

Back to the ribs.  When the ribs have cooked with just a tiny bit of pink showing, time to for the hot side of the grill or time to crank up the heat in the oven. Generously brush or squirt sauce onto the bottom (rib bone side) of the rack and place under high heat for upwards of five minutes to allow the sugars in the sauce to caramelize onto the meat.  Turn, and repeat the process two or three more times.  

After a good twelve to fifteen minutes of hot grilling or hot (even broil) oven roasting, the ribs should be perfectly ready.  You want them to be juicy but the have that generously caramelized sauce on the outside.  Just not Crunchy Sauce.  Time to let them rest, redistribute their juices and allow the sauce to cling to the cooling meat. 

Slice when ready and serve with the Caprese Brushcetta.  Simply add a good spoon full of the caprese to the bread, place some of the sliced ribs onto the plate, make sure you have a fantastic drink and a big pile of thick paper towels!  Trust me, you are going to need them!  

My Deconstructed Caprese Salad Bruschetta

Give yourself Plenty of Room!!!

Thank You, friends, for your time and consideration!  I hope you take the time to go cook for someone you love!  And with spring well on the way, why not this???  

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