Bonnie: It’s true. Outfitted in these awkward but useful silicone mitts you can carefully turn meat or chicken on the grill without getting burned. I know, as I’ve tried it.The mitt maker also claims that you can reach into a pot of boiling water or vat of ready-to-fry oil without getting burned (although why you’d want to do that is beyond me). I didn’t try that.
I’m always sporting a big smile at the ease—and fun—of grabbing and turning racks of ribs while wearing these mitts. That’s something I do whenever Eric’s home.
“Ribs,” Eric always replies when asked what I should make when he’s home. He never cares what I serve with it; he’s just happy with ribs, with meat that falls off as you pick up a bone.
To have your rib meat do so, prepare the racks before cooking. Use baby backs for sure. Carefully peel (yes peel) the thin papery membrane along the underside using your fingers or a sharp knife. (My preference is my boning knife.) Sometimes the membrane comes off easily; other times it’s a more of a struggle. But removing it is key to the meat falling off the bone.
The next step is truly optional. Rub the racks with a blend of brown sugar, ground cumin, dry mustard, salt and peppers (chili, black, cayenne, paprika) and let them stand on the counter for 20 minutes, refrigerate for longer or just bake right away. Or just season with salt, pepper and any favorite seasonings.
Place the racks in a pan with deep sides, large enough to hold the ribs in a single layer, meat side up. Depending on the number of racks, you might need two pans.
Cover the pans with foil and either bake at 250-degrees F in the oven or cook over indirect heat on the grill for at least 3 hours. Then slather them with your favorite BBQ sauce and bake or grill (still over indirect heat) another 30 minutes.
Using the silicone mitts, I grab the ribs carefully so not to burn my unprotected skin and also not to let the meat fall off the bones in transit. And when I’m done, I toss them into the dishwasher with all the sticky dinner plates.
Bryan: I’m from a food family and restaurant background, so flaunting my ‘hot hands’ is just par for the course. Working kitchens for many years gives me the feeling, though sometimes not the reality, that I can claim any food from the fire sans mitts. In my years now, out of the commercial kitchen, I stick to using mitts for the oven (the grill is still my playground). Though an awkward looking tool, the Orka gloves are unique in their ability to be washed while remaining impenetrable to the perils of the scorching, scalding kitchen.
Eric: I still am leery every time I put on these gloves, but after a few years of use I can easily say that as awkward as they look—with their somewhat neon tinge—they are a durable pair of gloves that work in the oven, on the grill and as a nice chew toy for a small dog*.
*We are not suggesting this. It’s just Eric’s humor.