Despite the name of the dish, there’s a bit more to cooking it than pouring beer into a pan, dropping in the ribs and waiting until the pork meat is tender.
It starts with seasoning, flouring and browning the pork ribs in a mixture of oil and butter. Butter, by itself, will burn too fast because of its low smoking point. That might be okay for sauteeing which requires a lower temperature. But we’re browning meat here and that requires that the stove be set on HIGH.
Since we want the flavor of butter but we don’t want it to burn, we mix it with oil to raise the smoking point. If you haven’t discovered the wonders of browning meat before braising or stewing, read about Maillard reaction, how it happens and why it adds a lovely richness to a dish.
The browned pork ribs are scooped out and in the remaining oil, the vegetables are sauteed with browned bits left from browning the pork. The beer is poured in and the bottom of the pan is scraped to loosen the browned bits so that they can swim freely, and later dissolve, into the cooking liquid. SO. MUCH. FLAVOR. And it is in that flavorful liquid that the pork ribs will cook slowly.
Instead of serving the pork ribs in a bowl with the sauce, I served this dish with the sauce spooned over the meat. To prevent the sauce from looking and tasting like soup, I thickened it with a bit of corn starch dissolved in water. To make sure that the pork ribs don’t fall apart with the stirring, I moved them to a plate, very carefully, before pouring in the starch solution.
With the sauce thick enough like gravy, a final touch to make the dish a real standout. Butter. Two tablespoons of butter are stirred in until fully incorporated. That’s the sauce spooned over the fork-tender pork ribs.
Pork Ribs Cooked in Beer
- 4 portions premium pork ribs - thick slices of pork chops will work too
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 4 tablespoons butter - divided
- ⅓ cup chopped celery
- ⅓ cup chopped carrot
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bottle Pale Pilsen - I used San Miguel (dark beer will yield even better results)
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- Pat the pork ribs dry with paper towels. Rub generously with salt and pepper. Toss with the flour until every inch is coated. Shake off any excess.
- Heat the oil and half of the butter in a pan.
- Brown the pork ribs on all sides. Scoop out and set aside.
- In the remaining oil, saute the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme until the vegetables are softened.
- Pour in the beer and scrape to loosen any browned bits sticking to the bottom and sides of the pan. Let boil for a minute. Stir in a little salt and pepper.
- Arrange the browned pork ribs in the pan in a single layer.
- Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer the pork ribs for an hour or until fork tender.
- Scoop out the pork ribs and transfer to a plate.
- Stir the cornstarch in two tablespoons of water.
- Pour half into the sauce and stir until the sauce is thickened and no longer cloudy. If the sauce is still too thin, pour in the rest of the cornstarch solution.
- Add the remaning butter to the sauce. Stir until melted and incorporated. Taste the sauce one last time and add more salt and pepper, as needed.
- To serve, arrange the pork ribs on a plate and spoon some of the sauce and vegetables over them. Optionally, sprinkle with snipped parsley.