Thursday, June 3, 2010

4th of July (Coming Right Up) Hot Ribs -- A Little Bit Different

Ted's Memorial Day BBQ ribsAs part of my ongoing articles on foods/recipes that go well with HEAT, I'm going to include something for 4th of July weekend. Pork Spareribs on the grill. Perfect. Except ... maybe not the same old ribs on the grill, maybe something a little different, and ... a little better even. But not hard to make. That's the ticket. That's what I've been planning for the 4th anyway.

We are not going to brine the ribs. That's too much work. We are going to get major flavor from them, though, in 2 ways.

One, we are going to semi-cure them -- the outside anyway -- and dry out the exterior, so it crisps up nicely.

Two, we are going to a make a hot pepper and sweet bell pepper mop/infused sauce, or whatever you want to call it, for a BBQ sauce, to slather on for the last 1/2 hour or so, and some extra, for serving the ribs with. I think it's very, very good.

OK, pick the pork ribs of your choice; they can be baby backs, or spareribs. The only difference will be the cooking time. The sauce that follows is based on 1 rack of ribs -- if you have more increase the sauce accordingly.

With either cut, we will rinse and dry the ribs and then lay them in a large sheet pan, and salt, pepper (use freshly ground black pepper), and sugar (use light brown sugar) the top and bottom of the ribs and the trimmings. And if you want to get some heat on the ribs at this point, you can dust the racks and trimmings with ancho or chipotle chile powder as well. If you are using spareribs, do trim and save the non-bony parts from the rib sections with a knife of kitchen shears, and trim as well any large flaps of meat that are attached to the bottom of the ribs. No need to tear the membrane from the bottom of the rack. Since the trimmings are done sooner than the other parts, you can be eating your appetizer while waiting for the rest of the BBQ to finish!

Then put the uncovered pan in the fridge overnight or until a couple of hours before you are ready to grill. At which time, pull them out and let them come to room temperature before grilling them. The dry-rub salt and sugar mixture will have dissolved to a glaze coating the ribs, which is perfect.

I often cheat and start with a commercial sauce; I like a bottle of Stonewall Kitchens Mesquite Steak Sauce, not for steak, but for PORK, and a small jar of Hoisin Sauce, say 8 oz, to start the mop or BBQ sauce, and then:

I then add a non-traditional Bell Pepper reduction. This is actually the basic recipe for one of my Fresh Hot Pepper Sauces. You can do without it if you like or just use your favorite BBQ sauce, but I am willing to go the extra mile! For the Flavor! And the Bell Pepper reduction does combine vinegar (acid), salt, and sweet flavors, which are traditional, so ...

Oh, you need a juicer!

8 to 12 red, yellow, or orange sweet bell peppers, depending on size
16 cloves of garlic
1 large sweet or Vidalia onion
1 TBS salt, preferably sea salt, or to taste
Rice Wine Vinegar, approx 1/2 cup
Hot Peppers of choice -- I like 4 or 5 Habaneros, myself, but you can substitute the Hot Sauce of your choice instead, if you wish.

Juice the first 3 ingredients (and Hot Peppers if using), and add the salt, and vinegar, but add about 10% by volume only, approx 1/2 cup depending on the juice in your peppers and onion.

Now reduce (in a non-stick frying pan) the pepper juice mixture by about 75%, that is, leaving only 25% of the original volume of liquid.

The remaining pepper liquid should have become a little thick and syrupy.

Preparing Ted's Memorial Day BBQ ribs
Check the seasoning. You should have a bright, sweet, somewhat garlicky and oniony, but not salty liquid -- if the flavor does not pop enough add salt a TSP at a time until the flavor develops.

Good. Mix it all together, that is, the Mesquite Steak Sauce, the Hoisin, and the Bell Pepper reduction you've just made. Taste it. If you want something hotter, juice more Habaneros, or add your Hot Sauce of choice, or some Huy Fong Chili Garlic sauce, for a really good kick. You don't want to add the Bell Pepper reduction, or make it? Fine. The Mesquite/Hoisin mixture is great by itself. Just add your Hot Sauce. You should end up with about a quart of BBQ sauce total if you have added the Bell Pepper reduction.

Now we are going to grill the ribs at 300 DEG until they are tender and nearly done. For those of you with a digital meat thermometer, that's about 180 degrees. For those of you who do not, that's when 1/8" of bone starts to show at the sides of the racks of ribs and the ribs are knife tender, but not fork tender.

If you are doing this on the grill, be sure to use indirect heat, and do not place the ribs directly over the open flame. Place them bone side down.

At the 180 DEG point with 1/8" of bone showing, we begin to mop the ribs (top and bottom) with the mop/glaze every 15 minutes or so, for about 1/2 hour(3 mops) to 45 minutes (4 mops), at which point the ribs will measure around 190 to 195 DEG , and they will show 1/4" of bone and start to pull apart easily. The whole thing will take a little over an hour for the trimmed pieces; the back ribs may take and hour and a half; the spareribs make take 2 hours to 2-1/2 hours.

OK, they are done.


Happy 4th of July!

You don't actually need the excuse ...


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