Sunday, 4 September 2011


I went to the butchers the other day to stock up on meats...I haven’t always been a huge meat eater but living with an Aussie there is only so much pasta and veggies he will eat, so the days I indulge in meat I make memorable. My favourite is BBQ ribs, a good old American tradition. There are many ways, and certainly elaborate ones, to cook them...mine is by no means elaborate and does not involve a BBQ grill or any mess for that matter...

When I was single and living alone one of my all time favourite hangouts was Barnes & Nobles, a bookstore in the US with good coffee and great books you can read all day without having to buy any…Well one day I was cruising the aisles and a particular book cover caught my attention...the book is called Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin… I didn’t know what it was about but I thought, ohhh diet book, I want to be a Skinny Bitch too… I already had a massive collection of these genre of books that included: the South Beach Diet, Eat Right for Your Type, Atkins Diet, etc. etc....I have found them all useful but to be taken with a grain of salt. I ended up discovering that the only diet or lifestyle that will keep you thin is to eat everything in small quantities and MOVE…

So, I take the Skinny Bitch home only to find out in the first chapter that this book is about veganism. It’s a well written book, which I read in a day, hypnotized by the stories and “truths” about the meat industry, the slaughter houses, etc. Most importantly it mentioned that if I wanted to be a Skinny Bitch I had to completely eliminate all dairy, meat and who knows what else from my diet. After a day of reading I professed myself a VEGAN (what a strong word)… So for 6 months I ate bird food, tofu, veggies and even got conned into not drinking coffee (I don’t know why but I did.)  I then started to gain weight, which is when I should have picked up Eat Right for Your Blood Type (being an O+ it is highly recommended that I eat meat)…this was all too stressful, I couldn’t eat out, I started looking pale, I was not skinny but on the contrary I had put on 5 pounds.  All in all I was miserable….
One night I had a dream, the kind that makes you sweat at night. In this dream I was eating BBQ ribs, I could smell and taste them (oh it was divine)...I woke up thirsty, angry, confused and still dreaming of those ribs.  I drove to Tony Roma's, the house of ribs (it's a restaurant chain in the US)… sat by myself (I didn’t think I needed any company) just me, my baby back ribs, coleslaw and a baked potato… I finished off a half slab of the most tender, perfectly marinated ribs (the meat just fell off the bone)… oh it was so good! The staff was looking at me funny, but I didn't care, I licked my fingers and washed it all down with a glass of iced tea…LA BELLA VITA….
Expect wait...full stop…ouch ouch…massive stomach cramps kicked in. You can imagine my tummy had only been digesting beans, sprouts, tofu and veggies for six months...this was a fair effort if you ask me…so the shock of the ribs had me lying down on the booth for 30 minutes cramping and then went home to the have a double dose of Alka-Seltzer. It was worth it though, and never again have I gone down any extreme food path like that.

I love my meat and love animals, but if I trace my genes back to the caveman I was a hunter and not a gatherer. I like wearing leather so I feel that I cannot feel bad for eating meat and then go around wearing nice leather shoes and handbags…I now have a lovely friendship with ribs and all meat. My stomach is now accustomed to eating everything in moderation, and I’m far happier. It was a painful lesson I learned that day, but I can say with sincerity, especially to the kids, that yes we can eat everything, even if it’s junk food, but in moderation…
Enough of my babbling…let’s cook up some RIBS…

Ingredients for the BBQ ribs:

3 racks of pork ribs
Hoisin sauce

I buy a slab per every two people …and for my big guy; he is special, so he gets an entire one for himself…

The ones you are seeing in the photos of my recipe have been pre-marinated, from the butcher, with soy and honey…I place them in the sheet pan and rebase them with hoisin sauce…I love the flavor.
If your butcher has ribs that are not marinated the marinade is easy…

You can either use traditional BBQ sauce or you can marinate them in hoisin sauce, soy sauce and honey...there are thousands of tasty marinades on the market…However beware, most of the marinaded have preservatives (some marinades will contain hidden MSG sources) that may not suit everyone so check the packaging and read carefully in case any of your family members or guest have specific dietary needs.

I lay the ribs in foil, add the hoisin sauce and seal them in foil…by cooking them this way you keep the moisture and heat in so that they do not burn or become dry. Cook them at 200 degrees Celsius…I cooked 3 full racks for 35 minutes…the last 5 minutes I took the foil off the top and lowered the heat so they would brown even more…this keeps them tender and the meat will just fall off the bone (don’t worry if the juices on the foil become burnt.)

As a side, I will stick to my Skinny Bitch theory since ribs are not the most waist-friendly meal. I therefore accompanied them with brown rice and a nice vegetable stir fry.


I use very little oil in my stir-fry, and to keep the veggies from burning I add a bit of water…I keep the flavours simple since the BBQ ribs already have a strong flavour… I make a stir-fry with whatever I have at home (so any veggies you have will do.)

Ingredients for the veggie stir-fry:

1 large white onion
1 carrot
2 bunches of asparagus
1 knob of ginger (sliced)
1/2 a head of red cabbage
4 mushrooms
Salt & pepper

(Please feel free to add or remove any veggies and create your own stir-fry)

Cut up all of the vegetables. Cook the onions, ginger and carrots first, when the onions are soft and the smell of the ginger is more intense add the red cabbage…once you see the cabbage begin to soften add the asparagus and finally the mushrooms…I think that in order to have an even consistency with vegetables you have to know what will take longer to cook and what will release more moisture into the stir-fry…now just add salt & pepper.

I also make a plain green salad: rocket and spinach mix, shallots and dress it with olive oil, fresh lemon and salt & pepper…this way I don’t eat too much rice.

So now we can sit down and eat my ‘Skinny BBQ RIBS’!

Please note that this post and its contents are not meant to offend vegans or any non-meat eating groups or individuals. I firmly believe that in life we have to choose the lifestyle that best suits us, and therefore eat what we believe is best for ourselves and our families. I learnt a lot from Skinny Bitch and to this day have altered some of my diet due to the issues raised in this book.  xx SARA 


  1. Hi Sara, it is lovely the way you are sharing not only your recipes with us, but your life as well. you are a good storyteller and we are enjoying hearing about your childhood and your other experiences. we love your sense of humour and you are making cooking a real joy. I have not cooked the ribs yet but I will. !!!!! Sue.

  2. Teflon coated pans aren't really good for health. I prefer the ceramic coated ones.

  3. I really enjoy your blog Sara and my boyfriend loves ribs so I will be making him this as soon as I can xx