Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ode to a Meat Blog - Parshat Mishpatim

After Moses shares a laundry list of rules with the nation in this weeks portion, Parshat Mishpatim, the nation famously responds - "All the things that God has commanded we will do!" This attitude doesn't last for too long during their trek in the desert, but for the time being the nation, Moses and God are in a really good place in their relationship. In celebration of this Moses builds an altar at the foot of the Mountain where he just got the commandments out of 12 pillars to represent each tribe. Appointed spokespeople for the nation come forward to offer up bulls as sacrifices of well being to God.

Things are looking normal when Moses takes the blood from the animals and dashes it against the side of the alter. But after he reads the covenant out loud and the nation again chimes in faithfully " All the things that God has commanded we will do" Moses starts to sprinkle the blood over the nation saying "this is the blood of the covenant that God makes with you regarding these commandments." Not sure anyone saw that coming.

But let's get back to those bulls. It was this time last year that I was exuberantly writing about Oxtail soup in connection to the bull's cousin mentioned earlier in the portion. This fateful blog entry led to a blissful state of free meat for our family from Golden West Glatt - I would blog for them twice a month with recipes that I tried out on the meat that they sent me. I am sad to say that the free meat has stopped, as has all meat from the Golden West site. There are two posts that I wrote for them that never got published so I thought I would share one of them here with you this week. I'll save the other for another week. Enjoy the meat.

Whiskey Molasses Ribs

Both my father and my husband are big whiskey fans, and along the way I've developed a taste for the smooth drink as well. There isn't one brand that I'm a devotee of but I have learned an important lesson about nomenclature when it comes to this drink. The lesson came on a family trip to Ireland in the summer of 2001. We were in a small pub in Ballina (pronounced bah-lyn-ah), a sweet town along the River Moy, about four hours drive from where my mother's family hails from. We were in the middle of our four week adventure, driving all over the southern part of the country to visit family and sites. The printed maps we had were no help in navigating our tiny car along the swerving, hedgerow-lined streets since none of the roads were clearly marked (The Irish immigrants to Boston must have felt right at home with our equally absent street signs). At the end of that particular day my dad wanted more than the Guinness on tap to wind down and approached the bar tender with a request for a nice glass of Scotch. The pleasant but firm response he got was "Well, you be in Ireland now and we call it whiskey here." Right, he didn't make that mistake again. Calling whiskey Scotch is something you can get away with in Scotland and America, but not in Ireland. However, the mistake had the fortuitous outcome of turning my dad on to a whole new genre of Irish whiskeys.

Aside from enjoying sipping whiskey out of a shot glass, I also enjoy adding it to dishes in the kitchen. It enhances certain pies, and truly shines in meat sauces. When I announced the name of the dish I was serving to my guests several weekends ago people got down right giddy. The Whiskey Molasses ribs live up to their name in their sweet and deeply savory taste. I had actually tasted two right after I removed them from the broiler on erev Shabbat and got very close to changing my mind about sharing them with my guests. Gobbling down these Golden West short ribs with Sam before anyone arrived suddenly seemed like a great idea. The truth is this is my third recipe for ribs that I'm sharing with you here at Golden West Glatt (blueberry glazed and Korean style) and I still can't get enough of this tender and aromatic crispy beef, no matter how I dress them. Whether you take the time to craft an intricate sauce, whip up a simple overnight marinade or just brush them with your favorite BBQ sauce, the results are sure to make you, and anyone you end up sharing them with feel special (not to mention very sad once there aren't anymore left to eat). The Whiskey Molasses recipe is somewhere in between an intricate marinade-sauce combo and a bottled BBQ sauce. It's a recipe that has some Southern hallmarks (including southern Ireland) since it involves whiskey and molasses which come together in a thick sauce that looks like a dark ketchup. But is also has a subtle nod to every New Englander, there's beer in the marinade that gets boiled and cooled for the ribs to soak in overnight.

After eating this dish you won't have much use for a napkin, as you'll want to lick your fingers to hang onto those last bits of flavorful sauce and crispy flecks of charred goodness. The notes of thyme and balsamic vinegar add an interesting complexity that will leave those who weren't in the kitchen with you wondering about how you got those savory notes into a sauce sweet with molasses and sugar. The delicate marbling that you find in the raw ribs adds to the rich flavor after they are cooked, as does the bone itself. Be sure to not remove the meat from the bone for your guests - eating it off the bone is not only fun but helps maintain their marrow-ey flavor. These are not cross cut ribs, which are referred to as flanken, they are individual ribs with the meat on the bone and have been sawed down to manageable sized pieces. The ribs come in square packets from Golden West in a variety of sizes, ranging from from five inches tall and three inches thick to two inches by two inches. Many people like to braise ribs like these in a large pot for several hours but I find that after soaking in a marinade over night they do very well with a few minutes under the broiler on each side. Especially when you get a nice brown/black crisp on them. In the recipe I include instructions to leave the ribs in a warm oven for an hour after cooking, but if you can't wait that long I won't blame you.

Whiskey Molasses Ribs

Inspired by a recipe for Bourbon Molasses Ribs by John Malik which appeared in Bon Appetit in 2003

Make the marinade at night:
1.5 cups water
12 oz light beer
1/4 molasses
5 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp pepper

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium pan over a high flame. Cool the liquid and then place the ribs in a glass baking dish and cover with the liquid. Cover and refregerate over night.

1/8 cup whiskey
1/8 cup water
2 thyme sprigs
Olive oil
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium-sized pot heat the olive oil and then add in the diced onion and stir for 5 minutes until brown. Add in the balsamic vinegar and boil for 2 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients, stirring until thickened.

Heat the broiler and remove the ribs from the refrigerator after they have marinated overnight. Discard the marinade.

Place the ribs on the broiler rack and coat the exposed sides with the sauce. Broil for 6 minutes and then flip each rib, coat with more sauce and broil for 6 more minutes. Turn the oven down to 150 degrees and leave them there for an hour or until you're ready to eat.


  1. And what to do when you have outstanding gift vouchers? I bought one for $100 as a gift, so how do I get my money back?

  2. Sorry I have no control over this.

    I did hear one gift voucher success story.

    This person asked the one who gave them the voucher to call their credit card company and tell them the situation. They got their money back and purchased a new gift for the person at another retailer.

    Good luck! And if you are looking for eco kosher meat online check out