Saturday, April 24, 2010

Can't Get Enough of You Baby - Barbecue Ribs

I cannot express enough how much our family loves ribs.... or maybe I am doing just that by writing about them so often.  We are always looking for rib perfection.  It's Saturday, a beautiful sunny afternoon.  Time to take a little time and slow cook a rack of spare ribs.  My ribs of choice are usually baby back, but at the store today, a discussion ensued about the difference between the two.  My first response was that I thought spare ribs are more meaty and fatty.  Sold!
The charcoal Weber saw some action for the first time in a while.  A true sign spring is in the air.  During the spring and summer we keep both our gas and charcoal grills on the patio below.  But during the cold and raining months, we move the gas grill onto the deck for year round grilling.  
I coated the ribs with my spice rub made up of garlic salt, kosher salt, garlic powder, chili powder, brown sugar and ground black pepper.  I soaked some hickory wood chips in water.  Prepare the charcoal and place the briquettes on one side of the grill for indirect heat.  
In an aluminum pan, I put a can of cherry coke, half a bottle of beer, sliced onions, oranges and chunks of lemon I had left over.  Place the pan on the bottom of the grill and set the ribs on the rack above it, but away from the direct heat of the coals.  Maintain a heat of 275f in the grill for at least 2 hours.  You will need to adjust the top and bottom vents to achieve this.  Depending on how warm it is outside, the wind, etc., it might be closed vents on the bottom and half open on top or all open, or half open each end, etc.  To achieve the smoky flavor, toss the wood chips on top of the charcoal early on.  Once a hard crust forms on the ribs, the smoky flavor will not permeate as much.  
Another point up for discussion was length of cooking.  I like my ribs with a little snap to them.  Fall off the bone if quite fabulous too.  But my favorite is, of course, juicy and tender, with some body to it.  We smoked them for about 2 hours, but honestly, could have stayed on for another hour.
Next, what kind of sauce?  Regular bbq or red wine vinegar, butter and red pepper flakes?  We have got to get our girls used to eating spicy foods.  But for now, red pepper flakes are not an option.  

1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1/8 Cup Honey
1/8 Cup Molasses
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Saute the onion and garlic in a little bit of oil until soft and golden.  In a blender, puree the onions and garlic with the rest of the ingredients.  Return to the sauce pan and bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.  We started brushing the sauce on about half an hour before taking the ribs off the grill. 
They were smoky, meaty and sweet.  There was talk of banh mi (sandwiches) made with the leftovers.  Bonus!

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