As a rule, Oktoberfest is all about the beer, but not in my eyes, I love feasting on the pub fare, which goes so well with the “okay, I will have that beer after all!” or strong apple juice served in humongous mugs, smacked on the wooden benches in front of my favourite dish – Austrian ribs with all its condiments – crispy potato wedges, pickled peppers and the most insane garlic sour cream dipping sauce that compliments the wedges and ribs.

With our current Corona restrictive situations, it is a distant memory enjoying a meal and a drink in a crowded marquee with hundreds of thirsty and hungry “Oktoberfesters”, but at least the food can be replicated in your home…why not have an Oktoberfest occasion with your friendly bubble. Buy one of the many “gluten-free” beer or ciders available and get cracking with these ribs. Hopefully, you will all be singing and dancing. Preferably in your lederhosen or dirndl, but under the circumstances, pyjamas or tracksuits will do!

Gluten-Free Austrian Ribs
  • 6 baby-back pork ribs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 300-3500g store-bought or homemade apple sauce
  • 350ml water, room temperature
  • 750ml apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (only season with salt once the ribs are cooked)
  • 200ml store-bought barbecue sauce (check for gluten ingredients)

For the Austrian rib spice rub:

  • 4 tablespoons caraway seeds, whole
  • 4 tablespoons sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

For the garlic sour cream dipping sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
  • 250ml sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, finely sliced

For the homemade apple sauce:

  • 4 Granny Smith apples or any variety of green apples available
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

For the potato wedges:

  • 500g potatoes, unpeeled, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour

Step by Step Instructions

1. If making homemade apple sauce: Peel and core the apples, cut them in small pieces and add to 100ml of water in a saucepan.

2. Add the lemon juice, salt and cinnamon powder and incorporate together.

3. Cook the apple mixture over a medium heat for approx. 15 minutes with the lid on.

4. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture into a smooth consistency.

5. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 150 C/ 300 F.

7. Brush olive oil on the base of a deep-sided roasting pan.

8. Place the ribs directly in the pan on top of each other.

9. Pat the ribs dry with several paper towels to absorb any moisture.

10. Mix all the Austrian ribs spice rub ingredients together in a medium bowl.

11. Using plastic disposable gloves, rub in the apple sauce, massaging well into the ribs. Allow any excess apple sauce to fall to the bottom of the pan.

12. Rub the spice rub mixture into each rib. Do not add the salt until step 28 when the ribs are cooked.

13. Pour 500ml apple juice around the ribs.

14. Cover the roasting pan with foil.

15. Position the pan in the centre of the oven.

16. Cook for one hour.

17. Prepare the potato wedges: Clean the potatoes well and cut them into wedges.

18. Mix them in a baking tray with olive oil, salt, pepper and flour. Set aside.

19. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and flip the ribs over on top of each other.

20. Add the remaining 250ml apple juice.

21. Re-cover with the foil and return the pan to the oven together with the potato wedges.

22. Cook the ribs at the same time as the potato wedges for 30 minutes.

23. Position the ribs in the middle shelf and the potato wedges on the highest shelf.

24. Remove the foil from the ribs.

25. Increase the oven temperature to 180 C/ 350 F.

26. Cook the ribs and potato wedges for another 10 minutes. Remove the potato wedges. Taste and season more if necessary.

27. If you would like a crispier exterior, turn the grill on to 180 C/350 F and flash the ribs under the grill for 5-10 mins each side.

28. Remove from the oven, immediately sprinkle each rib with salt and allow to settle for 5-10 minutes.

29. Plate up each rib with potato wedges, pickled jar peppers and garlic sour cream dipping sauce and barbecue sauce.

Makes these ribs in advance and simply heat them up in the oven covered in foil for about 15 minutes.