The other night at dinner (on the deck, finally!), Bob, Brian and I were discussing whether or not the president is likely to send troops back into Iraq. The men had some intelligent things to say about this; I never have anything intelligent to say about war. I get morose almost instantly. I realize that I am incredibly naïve, but I still don’t understand why we can’t just all sit down together and work out our problems over a nice meal.
The conversation naturally drifted to what movie we would watch for the evening: The Way, since Brian is soon to be walking some of El Camino de Santiago. And then. I said. To my son. And I apologize in advance here for my incredible self-absorption: “More importantly, you only have two more dinners at home, what are they going to be?”
This topic, Brian agree, was indeed more important, and many possibilities were considered. In the end, we were able to narrow it down to three: duck, chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, and ribs. We agreed that I would make the final decision based on what looked best at the market. And the winners: ribs and duck.
Now, as a human being who lives on the planet, you are probably well aware of the hotly debated controversy regarding wet vs dry rubs for ribs. And then, of course, there are the considerations about cut, etc. Well, we don’t concern ourselves much with these arguments. Because we know what is right. Baby backs with tons of my homemade barbeque sauce. Brian points out that a favorite childhood memory involves a big plate full of ribs, a bowl of extra sauce, and a huge pile of napkins.
My recipe for barbeque sauce, like my recipe for salad, lentil stew, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and crack bark, morphs over time and has the potential for endless variations on a theme. I am going to give you my current favorite and trust you to play with it to your own taste and the availability of ingredients.
I give you this recipe for ribs with my favorite barbecue sauce and my wishes for happy journeys and a happy world…a world that would be a better place if we all sat down together with a big plate of food and a big pile of napkins.
I usually make a whole rack (or two) of ribs, and often throw some chicken on the grill to baste with the sauce. This week, there were individual ribs in the market and they looked especially meaty. But the cooking and results are really very similar.
Gluten free cooks: choose your favorite GF soy and hoisin.
Paleo cooks: You will have to micromanage the ingredients, but the rib cooking method is perfect for you!
1 rack meaty pork baby backs
1 tbs. each: salt and sugar (I use organic cane)
cayenne pepper to taste
barbeque sauce (below)
Season the ribs with the salt, sugar and cayenne. I like the do this a couple of hours ahead of cooking time (refrigerate) or even a day ahead, but it’s fine to season right before cooking, too.
Preheat the grill until it is very hot. Clean the grates well. Set up for indirect grilling. On a gas grill, this means you leave on the primary burner and turn off the rest. On a charcoal grill, it means you pile up all the coals on one side and leave the other side bare.
Place the ribs over the unlit part of the grill. Now, walk away for 45 minutes. Then, brush a liberal amount of barbecue sauce over the surface and sides of the ribs. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn and brush the other side. Cook for another 45 minutes, basting a couple more times. Let the ribs stand for 20 minutes before cutting (if you’ve used a rack) and/or serving. Serve with remaining sauce.*
*If you want to be super careful about food safety, set aside some of the sauce for serving and discard any remaining after you are finished basting. I don’t bother to do this since the meat is cooked on the surface before sauce application. But it’s up to you!
This is a wonderful all-purpose barbecue sauce. It is great on chicken or turkey.
If you’ve never used candied ginger instead of fresh, this is a great time to try it. I warn you: if you snitch a taste, you may become addicted!
½ cup ketchup (I use Heinz organic)
1/3 cup apricot jam
2 tbs. sugar (organic cane)
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tbs. soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 tbs. minced candied ginger (you may use fresh if you prefer)
Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate if you are not going to use it within two hours.