Ribs in Tomato Barbecue Sauce

Summer in Scotland is practically here and while that does mean that I am still wearing my heavy coat to work, haven’t yet given up my boots for the season and still have to dress Holtzmann in her tiny coat/cape at least once a week before we go out, it ALSO means that the days are longer (it’s still light at 9:30pm and we still have 6 more weeks of lengthening days ahead of us!), the sun is brighter and everything is finally green.

This is also the first summer that we’ve had access to the garden behind our flat (not for any good reason except that no one in our building uses it and we didn’t want to be the ones to dislodge Spidertown, the Edinburgh suburb that had built up in front of the doorway), and let me tell you- it’s an awesome garden. I take it for granted because I spend a lot (read: all) of my mornings out there trying to coax an alternately sleepy or rambunctious Holtzmann into doing her- ahem- business, but I stopped to think about it this week and that garden is the stuff dreams are made of. Or, at least, the stuffmy dreams were made of when I was a kid living in the sticky Florida heat and spending all my time reading about faraway European gardens. I mean, seriously, this garden has got it all: a wrought-iron fence, ivy and roses climbing up the crumbling stone wall, daffodils and tulips tangled with brambles and hydrangeas and a single tree, nearly three stories tall, planted in the perfect spot to block the view into the Italian restaurant’s kitchen that also shares a window into the garden with us.

So of course, with new and exciting access to the garden, we’re planning all kinds of cookouts down there in the coming months. It’s the perfect spot to bring a glass of wine and an excited puppy at the end of a long day, and soon we hope to host our first garden dinner party… though we might have to provide blankets for our guests, as Scottish nights still leave a little to be desired.

But if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm, where the nights aren’t yet too hot to be outside and the days aren’t yet demanding you stay in the AC, then these are the perfect thing to make outside on a grill (and if, like me, you do live in the frigid north, you can make these just as tasty in your very own kitchen). Not too sweet, not too tangy, this sauce is the perfect middle-of-the-road barbecue sauce sure to please everyone you make it for, even if they’re from Scotland and don’t know the difference between Eastern & Western North Carolina style barbecue sauce. (Just make sure you really like the people you invite over to eat these ribs with you, because you’re all going to be a mess afterward).

Some notes, of course:

I can't get two of the five ingredients of this sauce recipe, so I improvised with what I can get my hands on, and that's what is listed in my notes below. If you're stateside, you can follow the ingredients as listed in the image of the recipe.

The verdict:

4 spoons out of five. Still the best barbecue sauce I’ve made from the recipe box, but I have strong barbecue standards, people.

Barbecue Sauces, Previously: Spicy-Sweet Barbecue Sauce and Simple Barbecue Sauce

One year ago: Smoked Haddock Fish Pie
Two years ago: Diva cake

the recipe:

Tomato Barbecue Sauce

the directions:

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Brush oil over foil large enough to completely enclose ribs.
Salt and pepper ribs generously on both sides, then seal foil packet around them and cook until almost done, approximately 15 minutes, depending on your oven.
While ribs are cooking, mix together remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and heat to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until sauce is very sticky and onions are tender.
When ribs are almost done, open foil packets and brush ribs generously with sauce.
Allow to finish cooking, then brush with additional sauce before serving, preferably with corn on the cob and a fresh green salad.

the ingredients:

2 lbs ribs
Vegetable oil for brushing
1/3 c black treacle
1/3 c golden syrup
1/3 c scant brown sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1 c tomato passata
¼ c onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt to taste