a little bit of a pork pickle..

i had some of my favorite friends over for an “african food” potluck the other night, which proved to be a delightful gathering around a delicious meal, reminiscent of home.

the menu included palm nut sauce, peanut sauce, collard greens– all prepared west african style, sudanese eggplant dip, two salads and pound cake for dessert.

when i started prepping, i sent my friend IB on a grocery run and mentioned off-handedly that i would cook any meat he bought– since i probably wouldn’t be eating any i wasn’t picky. he took me up on it, and brought back the one meat item i’m least familiar with– PORK RIBS!

now, i love myself some bacon. and absolutely nothing beats a pot of black beans and ham hocks… but since i seldom ate pork growing up, i’m somewhat wary of non-cured pig-meat, and panicked for a few minutes when i realized that i’ve never cooked it before! pork ribs, especially, are such a venerated american dish that it was daunting to unleash my amateur pork skills with my friends as guinea pigs for the end result.

i decided to try to keep it simple, and concoct a marinade that i would later bake the pork in. this could easily be grilled too, but that wasn’t an option in my kitchen.

ooh lala, my first pork dish. turned out to be a huge hit!

steph’s pork marinade/barbeque-esque sauce

1/2 small can of tomato paste dissolved in 1/2 cup water

4 tablespoons alaga syrup (typically used for pecan pie, this is a raw sugar syrup. molasses will do the trick too, or honey.)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

1.5 tablespoons worchestire sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp all-purpose seasoning

1 tablespoon maple syrup

3 tablespoons olive oil

whisk all of this together for a minute or two, and let your pork ribs (four large ribs, cut into smaller chunks) marinate in a 13 inch pan for 10 minutes-an hour.

pre-heat the oven at 325. cover with foil and let bake slowly for atleast 30 minutes, closer to 40.

(it’s ok, even ideal to have a lot of liquid in the pan. it slowly infuses the pork with a lot of flavor and keeps it moist, which can be lost in the griling process.)

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