I am just forewarning you… things are about to get really campy for the upcoming onslaught of Halloween posts. I make no apologies, just warning.
With Halloween upon us it’s time for a little kitsch and carnage. What better than Bones & Body Parts? They’re sweet, sticky, savory, a little spicy… Need I say more?
This time of year, while everyone is gushing over pumpkin spice, I’m a little more focused on apples and cider. The Bones (aka baby back ribs) and Body Parts (or chicken legs) get marinated in a good apple cider. They take on a gentle apple flavor, nothing quite as strong as the cider itself, but there’s something about the essence of the cider that the meat takes on—it’s almost like you can smell the fall air when you bite into one of these severed appendages.
In addition to the cider, the marinate also gets both brown and turbinado sugar (for caramelization and sweetness), fresh minced red chilies (for a little heat), and garlic, Dijon and Worcestershire (for a punchy depth). The whole thing really comes together as simply as that; everything is chucked or poured into sealable bags, and then into the fridge where they’re forgotten for 24 hours. When the time comes, everything—marinade and all—get dumped into a roasting tray (or multiple, based on how much you plan on making), covered, and cooked in the oven low and slow until meltingly tender.
It is here where the real horror show begins. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Cooking the chicken and ribs in a covered pan of liquid in the oven means that their fat melts off, which is in part what keeps the meat so tender, but all that fat has to go somewhere. Obviously, it collects in the pan. It’s kind of a horror show. So I remove the chicken and ribs to a plate while I dispose of the remaining contents of the pan. From there, I wipe the whole thing down and return the Bones and Body Parts to the pan, crank the oven, and roast them a little while longer until they start to caramelize and crisp up a bit. They get sticky and sweet, and it’s so good against the tender meat.
This fits in perfectly among an array of finger foods for a Halloween party, but if you’d rather make a meal of it I like having it with a Kale and Apple Salad.
All that’s left now is to tumble everything onto a big serving platter in a big pileup of butchery and serve.
Lots more for Halloween to come! Follow me on BLOGLOVIN’ so you don’t miss out!
Load everything except the chicken and ribs in a measuring cup and stir until the salt and sugars dissolve.
Divide the chicken and ribs among two zipper bags and pour the marinade evenly over them. Seal and stash in the fridge for 24 hours.
After 24 hours is up, preheat the oven to 325° and dump the contents of the zipped bags, marinade and all, into a roasting pan (use two if they don't fit in a single layer). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and slide into the oven for 1-1/2 hours.
Once 1-1/2 hours is up, remove the pan from the oven and unveil the carnage within. Brace yourself... all the fat from the ribs and legs has been totally liquidated, leaving them incredibly tender, but the contents of the pan a little on the grotesque side. Remove the meat from the pan to a plate, and dump everything else out of the pan. Wipe it down a little and then transfer the meat back to it.
Turn the oven up to 400° and slide the tray back in. Give this another 20 - 30 minutes to caramelize and brown the outside of the ribs and legs, turning every so often as needed. Keep and eye on everything, though, as some bits might need to be moved so they don't brown too much.
Transfer to big serving platter and let everyone tear it apart with post-apocalyptic vigor.
The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled feed more people for a Halloween cocktail party by simply marinating in more sealable bags and roasting in more trays.
Tumble the shredded kale into a large bowl. Drizzle over 1 - 2 t-spoons olive oil and a little bit of salt. Massage for about 5 minutes with your fingers to help soften the kale (and don't be afraid to get a little rough with it).
Make the dressing by whisking everything except the oils and thyme together until homogeneous and the salt dissolves. Slowly and steadily stream the oils into the dressing while you whisk vigorously, continuing you to whisk until everything is emulsified. Stir in the thyme and set aside.
Add the julienned apples and shallot to the kale and toss with the dressing. Check for seasoning and serve either cold or at room temperature.
The kale can be massaged up to about 6 hours in advance. Wait to dress it and chop the apple and shallot until just before serving.