Maple Mustard Pork

Tonight I was driving home and thought dinner would be barbecued, boneless pork ribs. Unfortunately, there’s no barbecue sauce in my house.

What’s next? A couple years ago, I made some sort of maple mustard glaze for some pork, surely I have those ingredients.

After a quick Google search, I settle on a favorite chef from my Food Network binging days, Rachel Ray. She has never let me down when I need a quick idea. Tonight, she offered:

And I countered with, but “I don’t have that, or that, or that….”

Tonight’s recipe as I altered it to become, Maple Mustard Pork Ribs.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Level: Easy

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 8.55.03 PM
Rachel Ray’s original ingredient list.

My Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup
  • 4 Tbsp. or 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice (tonight this was the only thing the original and I have in common)
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 5-10 boneless pork ribs
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • steak seasoning, or salt and pepper


Preheat a grill pan over medium high to high heat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine syrup, mustard, vinegar, onion, allspice and cardamom in a small saucepan and cook together over medium heat for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens a bit and the onions are soft.

Add oil to the pan. Add pork and season lightly. Cook ribs on grill pan for 3 minutes per side. Spread some of the syrup mustard glaze on the bottom of a baking sheet or baking pan to keep meat from sticking. Add meat. Baste with the rest of the sauce. Bake 12-15 minutes, until the center is cooked through.

We also had roasted heirloom carrots and cornbread for sides.

So here’s where we get to the meat of this blog. I don’t always have all the ingredients I need to make a recipe happen, but I believe cooking is a science and if you have something close or something that can do in a pinch, then you can keep on trucking.

To analyze tonight’s changes:

  • 1/2 cup Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup  — sure the dark amber would have a higher sugar content and probably actually caramelize, unlike my sauce, but mine was a lot easier to scrape off and feed a picky 6-year-old.
  • 4 Tbsp. or 1/4 cup yellow mustard — brown mustard certainly would have added depth that ballpark yellow just doesn’t have, but a tad extra spice somewhere else can cover this change
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar — apple cider would have had a sweeter note to the sauce, but honestly we preferred the tang the vinegar gave this sauce. I’m pretty sure we would now want this zip rather than the sweetness the cider alone would have provided.
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped — Since no color was given in the original, you usually assume yellow or white. But the half of a red was all my produce drawer was producing today.
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice — Tonight, this was the only thing the original and I have in common. Go me!
  • 1 tsp. cardamom — I have never stocked cumin that I know of, but it’s pretty versatile with savory or sweet. To be honest, the cardamom was next to the allspice in the spice drawer, it goes well with meat and so it went in the pot. Next!
  • 5-10 boneless pork ribs — I buy meat on sale. And so it was ribs rather than chops.
  • olive oil, for cooking — I like to keep a good-sized bottle next to the stove for every occasion.
  • steak seasoning, or salt and pepper

Dinner was a huge hit. My husband was sopping up the glaze, which is really more like a loose sauce given my changes, with the meat, the carrots and every last bit of cornbread he could find.

There’s no picture with this post because we scarfed it before coming up with the idea we’ve been tossing around for a while now — writing about what I do when “I don’t have that.”

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