Today, we are going to fire up the barbecue for a classic recipe: BBQ Pork Ribs.
Who doesn’t like ribs? It is a perfect snack for a family or friend gathering. And if you know how to cook them well, you will certainly make a smashing impression on your guests.
I started to cook ribs when I was living in Yangon, Myanmar. Yangon is not a great city for meat, I must admit. You need to find your way around the supply which is not always very fresh and appealing. Pork is usually a safe bet in the country as it is cheap and consumed extensively by the locals.
There are two types of ribs: Spare Ribs and Loin Back Ribs
Spare Ribs come from the belly of the pork, this is where bacon comes from. They are large, very meaty, but less tender than loin back ribs.
Loin back ribs come from the pork loin, where pork chops come from as well. Sometimes people call them baby back ribs or loin ribs, these are the ones you should favor for your barbecue.
Choosing Pork Ribs
When choosing your rack of ribs, try to look for good meat coverage and avoid large fat area. You should also inspect the rack and make sure it was not cut too close to the bone, if you see knife incision between the bones, put it aside. There is a risk the rack will dislocate during the cooking.
Last but not least, reject ribs that are discolored or with dried-out edges, which indicates freezer burn.
Now, you have the pork ribs, time for some cooking!
My recipe is inspired by DJ BBQ & Jamie Oliver BBQ Pork Ribs video. Jamie Oliver is one of my favorite cook to watch on TV. I enjoy his cooking style: family-oriented, simplistic, making the best of everyday ingredients including canned foods or frozen vegetables. His cuisine is quite basic and not very exotic, but still a good source of inspiration.
If you watch Jamie’s shows over and over, you will notice some patterns. Jamie is a big fan of Mediterranean cuisine which is quite odd for a Brit :-). His baseline ingredients are often olive oil and romarin (1). No concern about the first one which is healthy and can accommodate most of the meals. Romarin (1) is a different story, it has a very strong taste and I would be more cautious than Jamie on the use of rosemary in your cooking.
Back to Jamie recipe, if you like to watch it, it is right there:
So now that you have watched the show, you can take it from there, right?
Well, you could. Or you can read my variant which is to my opinion much more friendly and easy to make.
I must admit that I have one main concern with this video and it is the cooking method. Jamie cooks his ribs end to end on the barbecue. For 2h40mn. That is a long period of time to keep a fire going.
If you are a barbecue black belt, that is probably achievable. For me, standard dad with standard skills, that seems like a lot of trouble!!
The simple idea of maintaining a stable temperature over charcoal for more than two hours seems too complex to make this recipe failure-proof. At least to my humble dad opinion.
Ultimately, I am always concerned about children safety. Barbecue is usually the central piece of a festive event. Your kids are running around, you are having a drink or two, your guests are an easy distraction. There is no way you are going to watch your fire going for two hours and thirty minutes. Nothing may happen, but we are never too cautious when it comes to kid’s safety!
So how to do?
Considering the first stage is to cook the ribs wrapped under foil, it would be safe to assume that cooking in the oven would achieve a similar result. We will definitely finish the ribs over the barbecue to give them a smoky flavor.
Here comes the recipe!
For this recipe, you need to plan a little in advance as we will let the ribs soaked into a delicious rum marinade for more than 8 hours, yes I said rum!
The perfect container for a marinade is a zip bag. I am not a big fan of Tupperware for marinade as the meat never soak completely in the sauce. I would strongly recommend the use of a plastic bag instead.
Marinade for 2 racks (1,5KG in total):
- A full whisky glass of amber rum (half for you, half for the ribs)
- 1-2 teaspoons of smoke paprika (depends on how spicy you like it)
- 2 teaspoons of soft paprika
- 4 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of dried herbs (thyme, rosemary, mix)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of pepper (coarse)
- 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 garlic gloves smashed roughly with their skin
As every marinade, you can be creative and adapt this recipe to whatever you have in your kitchen. Just think: flavor, smoky, spicy, sweet.
Let the ribs rest in the marinade for at least 8 hours, if you can let it rest overnight, it is even better!
The next day, wrap the ribs in the foil with a few cups of marinade and cook it in the oven 2 hours at 180°C or 350°F.
Then unwrap your ribs carefully. The meat should start to dislocate so be careful and try to keep the rack in one piece. The meat should look a bit soggy due to the marinade though the smell should be wonderful. Hold on, we are not done yet !
Remove all the liquid and place your ribs on a grill handle if you have. Or on a plate if you don’t.
Now use a spoon or ideally a pinceau (2) and spread barbecue sauce over the two faces of your rack. Be generous.
Once it is done, you are ready to kick-off the barbecue. Your pork meat is already cook and just waiting to get its extra smokey flavor and this nice layer of grilled crispy fatty goodness.
Time to open a cold beer and relax while you wait for your guests to arrive.
When everyone is here and you fired up the barbecue, you can place the ribs on the grill. Watch it cautiously as it could burn fast. 10-15mn on each side should do it.
If you don’t use a grill holder, be careful when you turn the rack that it does not dislocate and fall into the embers.
Once your meat is grilled, use a big knife to chop between each rib. And there you go, your tasty sticky greasy appetizer for your friends and family!
Glossaire / Glossary:
(1) Romarin: Rosemarin
(2) Pinceau: Brush