I often tell tales of my former pre-vegan life and how cooking just wasn’t a part of it with a few minor exceptions like frozen pizza, boxed macaroni and cheese, and ribs. Yes, out of all the things I did bother to make, BBQ ribs were a part of that. Barbecue, specifically ribs, were one of my favorite foods that were a rare treat. Usually the hole-in-the-wall places seemed to have the best, and now I can only imagine why that was. At some point, I had come across an easy slow-cooker recipe and figured it was something I could manage and manage I did. I didn’t make them often but felt like such a master chef when I did. I had an old instagram account that has long been deleted, way before foodies took over IG, and remember posting a photo of my nasty pile of bones. Aside from it probably being the most unappealing composed and lit photo, I distinctly remember feeling so weird about posting a food photo, thinking who the heck wants to see what I’m eating, and was surprised that it received any acknowledgment at all. Especially such a sight as that one. Look how far we’ve come. The thought of eating animal ribs completely grosses me out now, I’m embarrassed of my former self but once we know better we do better, eh? That’s been my mantra since making the switch.
But I will forever love that smokey sweetness of a good barbecue with just the right amount of zing and there’s no reason one cannot enjoy it even as a vegan. We can pour that sauce onto cauliflower instead of chicken wings, stewed carrots or jack fruit instead of pulled pork. All the sensory satisfaction can be had with plants and the only animals needed are my two rescue pups begging for some of what Mama is eating, right beside me. I’ve enjoyed a couple BBQ rib dishes at local places and I actually really enjoyed the Morning Star brand Riblets but when I flipped through the Vegan Pantry Cookbook months ago and came across that UnRib photo and recipe, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. For whatever reason, it took me several months to getting around to actually cooking them. The ingredient list wasn’t overwhelming but it did call for the homemade barbecue sauce also from the book, to be made. Those ingredients just get thrown into a blender but if you want to cut down the total ingredients, there’s no reason why you can’t buy your favorite vegan barbecue sauce (watch for honey and I’ve also seen dairy in some, why?).
The ribs come together pretty easily but you do have to saute them in a pan, let them bake for over an hour, and then saute them up a second time to get that nice char going. Although the overall time needed from start to finish isn’t particular speedy, it wasn’t labor intensive and it’s really worth it. Good food isn’t always fast food. Plus, the recipe makes enough for 2 meals, if you eat like my family, so you can freeze half and have ribs in a jiffy again in the future. If you have this book, please give it a try, if you don’t have this book, it’s worth the purchase if you are looking for another cookbook to add to your collection. I’ve also made the “Breast” of Un-Chicken from the book, which you can watch me do on Youtube, and was another delicious recipe that will stock your freezer. These ribs, though, tender, sticky, messy…and vegan! Just how ribs should be.