Updated: Jun 30
When Gaggenau introduced the steam oven to the residential appliance market in 1999 the technology had only recently been developed for high end restaurants. Chefs might have had a clear understanding of how the combination of heat and humidity could be used in food preparation, but for the rest of us it was a major learning curve.
Even though recipes were provided they were definitely in the fine dining category, but in order for clients to purchase the oven they needed to understand how the oven would benefit their cooking. We started with the basics, steaming food and roasting and baking with steam. The more familiar we became with the oven the more we came to realize how easy it was to adapt recipes to cook with steam, and pork ribs was definitely high on that list.
Why Does Cooking with the Steam-Oven Create Tender Pork Ribs?
Whenever a recipe directs you to cover the food during the food during the cooking steam is being created. That’s why we braise meats and stews in pans with a tight fitting lid, cover lasagna and casseroles and cuts of meat such as ribs to tenderize them. The steam gently penetrates into the food resulting in great flavor and texture.
When we braise meats we usually sear them first, for casseroles we remove the foil and finish the cooking uncovered so that the top gets nice and crispy and with ribs we finish them with high heat on the grill or in the oven. Paying attention to these recipe instructions is essential to understanding how to adapt a recipe for cooking in a steam oven.
What are the Benefits of Cooking Ribs in a Steam Oven?
Food cooked with steam has better flavor, texture and nutrient retention. Also when the ribs are cooked in a steam oven you can cook on multiple trays at one time with even heat distribution making it easier to cook multiple racks of ribs at one time.
When cooking in the steam oven there is no need to cover food and the controlled environment of heat and humidity cooks the food gently ensuring the perfect texture.
4 Tips for Preparing Tender Ribs in a Steam Oven
When cooking ribs in a steam oven, prepare the ribs the same way as you would for a traditional recipe.
Remove the silver skin or membrane on the underside to ensure tender, easy to eat ribs.
Seasoning the ribs with a dry rub a few hours or a day in advance is essential for flavor.
Keep the oven temperature low, to avoid the bone from falling out of the meat.
Allow at least 2 hours for the ribs to achieve the perfect falling off the bone texture.
When cooking ribs in a steam oven with a refillable water tank be sure to check the progress after an hour to ensure there is sufficient water in the tank.
Once the ribs are cooked they can be cooled, brushed with your favorite BBQ sauce and given a high heat finish on the grill or in the oven. When the ribs are removed from the steam oven pour the pan juices into a measuring cup and allow them to settle. Skim off the fat and refrigerate it until solid then discard, add a ½ cup of the pan juices to your BBQ sauce for added flavor.
If you are planning a BBQ I recommend preparing the ribs a day or two in advance so you can make good use of your steam oven to steam the food for the side dishes. It’s so easy to steam corn on the cob, potatoes, green beans and eggs or grains for a salad. Steam ovens are amazing tools that not only cook food well they make the process of cooking multiple foods at one time much easier. So liberate yourself from the cooktop and give it a try .
Firing up the BBQ to cook simple grilled foods is an appealing way to cook during the warmer months but successfully cooking on the grill actually takes some skill. One way to avoid unevenly cooked or burnt food is to first cook meats at a low temperature in a steam or convection oven then finish the cooking on the grill.
Please check out my next post to learn how to make truly amazing BBQ chicken that is succulent, tender and has great grill flavor.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast