Apples and ribs, a very “tempting” comfort fruit combination
Old fashioned apple butter becomes a spicy BBQ sauce and a true Northwest Meets Southwest Infusion flavor twist, in this comfort fruit recipe. I bought this cute little Harry & David cookie jar apple truck one day while “Goodwill Shopping” in Beaverton Oregon. I love shopping for food props at Goodwill. (I use the collectibles I find once, or twice, for recipe photos, then return them back to Goodwill, for a write-off on my taxes). Due to my capricious nature, my temporary treasures are returned for someone else to enjoy.
Since Harry & David got their start in the Rouge River Valley in Southern Oregon, I thought I would come up with a farm to market recipe for my new food prop treasure. I was looking at the produce truck sitting on top of the refrigerator and thinking “I will make a cookie recipe using apples.” A few days later, I bought some delicious looking baby back ribs. I started searching through the pantry for something to make a BBQ sauce with. I found a jar of Smucker’s Old Fashioned apple butter, and the inspiration came to me. “what goes better with pork than applesauce”?
You can go to all the trouble to make your own apple butter, or you can help Medford Oregon’s Harry & David Fruit Treats recover from Chapter Eleven bankruptcy by ordering their over-priced apple butter on line. Although Harry & David helped with my inspiration, I used Smucker’s Old Fashioned brand, as it is the closest taste to my mother’s amazing apple butter.
I took the apple butter and added molasses, vinegar, a little ketchup, and Mexican oregano, along with some fresh tarragon and cilantro I bought at a local farmer’s market. To kick up the cinnamon and nutmeg in the apple butter, I added cayenne pepper. This recipe is simple, with additions made to the apple butter adjusted to your individual taste.
Start by heating the apple butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add molasses, ketchup, and vinegar (tasting after each addition). Since my grandmother was from North Carolina, I use a liberal pour on the vinegar (apple cider of course). If you like a thicker sauce, add less. For a sweeter sauce, add a little brown sugar. Lastly, I add cayenne pepper and Mexican oregano. Simmering the Apple Butter infuses the flavors together. I added finely chopped tarragon and cilantro at the very last for a fresh herb flavor.
I bake my baby-back ribs in a 300 degree oven and every fifteen minutes, I spritz the ribs with hard apple cider enhanced with a little natural hickory smoke flavoring. When the meat is done but still firm, I start basting with my apple butter BBQ sauce and finish up on the grill. For perfect ribs, the meat should be tender, but not falling off the bone.