Homer: “One Ribwich, please!” “Oooh, now without lettuce!” Hey, what’s up guys? Welcome back to Binging with Babish, where this week we’re taking a look at the curious case of the Ribwich, a rib sandwich whose contents do not include ribs. So, right off the bat we are breaking the rules by making a dry rub for our ribs. We’re starting with about a cup of dark brown sugar, a tablespoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of dried mustard, half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a good shake of normal paprika because…why not? Then, just like any dry rub, we gotta season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, about 2 teaspoons each worth. Tiny whisk together to the best of your ability, and be sure to taste for seasoning. Remember, if your dry rub doesn’t taste good, you won’t taste good. Oops, sorry you had to see that. Now we’re onto the wet rub, I guess you’d call it? A heady mixture of about 4 parts yellow mustard to 1 part ketchup, and maybe like 1 part liquid smoke. I know all the barbecue aficionados are shaking their heads at me, but we’re trying to solve the riddle for oven ribs that we’re just going to make into a sandwich anyway. Save your energy for summer. Speaking of ribs, the first thing we have to do with our ribs is rip off the papery membrane on the back of every rib. Paper towels make it very easy to grip your membrane, which sounds like a dirty saying but it’s not. Then we’re brushing down every surface with our mustard-ketchup-liquid smoke mixture, and then using that as a kind of glue for our dry rub. We’re starting with the bottoms of our ribs and then repeating on the top. At this point, your house should smell thoroughly like barbecue. If it doesn’t, I would check your spices’ expiration dates. Anyway, we’re stacking these ribs high and then wrapping them in the strategically-placed plastic wrap that we’ve put on the table, and then we are refrigerating for at least 8 hours and up to 24. An entire day later and we’re going to unwrap our ribs and place them onto a rimmed baking sheet and then we’re going to put that in the freezer, because we’re going to place them in a very hot oven. This method comes courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen, the key step of which is to smoke the ribs using lapsang tea, which is very clever because it has its own inherent smokiness so we’re going to spread out 6 bags worth of lapsang tea on our other rimmed baking sheet that we’re going to put a rack inside of. And then I’m going to make a big ol’ aluminum foil top by merging 2 sheets together at the seam, like so. Do not want any smoke getting out. Speaking of which, here come our ribs after their 45-minute stint in the freezer, during which time our oven has also been preheating to 500°F with a pizza stone inside to make sure that all that heat is getting transferred up into the tea. Once our parcel is tightly packaged, we’re placing in the 500° oven for 30 minutes and then removing, lowering the heat to 250°F and pouring a beer into the corner of our baking sheet. This is going to steam the ribs and help them become very, very tender over the next hour and a half that they are going to spend in this 250°F oven. Now, during the last 30 minutes of cooking, we’re going to make a quick and simple barbecue sauce starting with half a grated onion and 3 cloves of crushed garlic. These are the aromatics that we’re going to sauté in a small saucepan, along with a little squirt of vegetable oil over medium heat for about 2 or 3 minutes, until everybody gets soft and smelly, in a good way. Then we’re adding about a tablespoon’s worth of chili powder, letting that toast for another 30 seconds or so, and then adding a cup of ketchup, along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses for both sweetness and color, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, about a teaspoon of Worctfshersire sauce, a little tiny shake of cayenne pepper, about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, and that’s just about it. And then we’re going to tiny whisk all these guys together, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Then we’re just going to keep this guy warm until the ribs are ready to go, which they are. For this application, what we’re looking for is for the bone to be able to twist with little resistance even though it’s still attached to the meat. But we’ve still got one step left here and that is the second coat of paint. Starting with the underside of the ribs, we’re going to generously coat them with our freshly-made barbecue sauce. and then throw them under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes until browned and crisp. We’re then going to turn these meat-side upward and repeat, lovingly slathering with barbecue sauce, and placing under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned and crisp. You can keep repeating this if you like but I’m going to stop here because, dare I say, it’s sandwich time. My plan was to just pull the bones out and make sort of boneless rib patties, but these ribs weren’t quite meaty enough and they ended up falling apart. But I think that’s going to make for a damn fine sandwich. The Ribwich might not have lettuce on it, but if it’s modeled after the McRib, that means thinly sliced white onion and dill pickles, all atop a squishy, pillowy submarine roll. Let’s arrange some nice boneless ribs on top, give it a nice second coat with barbecue sauce, and then lovingly arrange some onions and pickles over top. It was at that point that I realized, I’m not making the food from the show, I’m making a tribute to the food from the show, and sometimes that’s okay. In this instance, I wanted to recreate the pupil-dilating, blood pressure-pumping, borderline illegal nature of the Ribwich, and I gotta say, in that spirit, this is a pretty close approximation. It’s also an opportunity to take a look at oven ribs, a challenge faced by anyone who gave up mowing their lawn in favor of living in an apartment, and there’s definitely some great technique to take away here, enough to get half this sandwich in the Clean Half-Sandwich Club. Hang on, I gotta take this half in the other room for…”analysis.” ♪♪