A few days ago I decided to make baby back ribs for Husband on New Year’s Day (NYD). Mere words cannot describe the look of glee and sheer joy that lit up his face when I told him my cunning plan. I purchased the meat on my Costco run two days before NYD, a 5.5-lb. package of 2 racks of pork loin back ribs. Late on New Year’s Eve afternoon, I prepped the ribs with Emeril’s Creole Seasoning (recipe below) and marinated them in some of Husband’s homebrew (an amber ale recipe based on a popular local microbrew called Hammerhead). On NYD morning, I brought the ribs out of the refrigerator to bring them to room temperature, a process that seems to take practically forever. After about 1.5 hours, I got impatient and decided to put them in the oven even though they weren’t quite at room temperature yet. I cooked the ribs until tender and made the sauce.
The recipe makes a ginormous amount of sauce for two racks of ribs so I just made a half-recipe of sauce (which was plenty). I used molasses instead of the pure cane syrup, added a splash of liquid smoke, and omitted the jalepeno peppers and the cayenne (I didn’t want the sauce to be too spicy for the kids). Once the grill was ready, I sprayed the grill rack with PAM GRILLING spray, brushed the ribs with the sauce, and started grillin’. I grilled the racks of ribs on each side for about five minutes over low direct heat, basting with sauce before I turned them (a total of four or five times). I took the ribs off the grill and let them sit for a few minutes while I told Husband that his ribs were ready.
The rib recipe also included a recipe for Smashed Potato Salad but I didn’t get around to making it so I’m not including it in this post. If you’re making these ribs and serving them with side dishes then this recipe could serve four people. Without sides, though, two hungry rib-eaters could probably polish off both racks. The finished ribs were delicious…tender, slightly charred and perfectly cooked. The sauce had a nice balance of tomato, onion, sweetness and spice. This is definitely a recipe worth repeating! I’m in good shape if the rest of 2009 works out as well as these ribs did!
Emeril’s Baby Back Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
-recipe from Emeril Lagasse – foodnetwork.com
Makes: 2 to 4 servings of ribs and 5 cups sauce
2 racks baby back pork ribs, about 4 pounds, each cut in half
2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows or favorite rib rub
1 (12-ounce) bottle dark brown ale (recommended: Abita Turbo Dog)
4 cups ketchup
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup pure cane syrup (recommended: Steen’s 100 percent) or molasses
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Creole or other spicy whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon or other hot pepper sauce (recommended: Emeril’s Red Pepper Sauce)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Rub the ribs on both sides with Essence or rib rub. Place in a large sealable bag or on a large sheet of aluminum foil placed in a large roasting pan. Cover with the beer and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
Remove the ribs from the bag and bring to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with heavy aluminum foil, lay the ribs on top, and tightly cover with foil. Roast for 2 hours.
Preheat the grill. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine the ketchup, onions, cane syrup, red wine, lemon juice, mustard, brown sugar, garlic, jalapenos, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce, salt, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Remove the ribs from the oven and uncover. Transfer to the hot grill, cover, and cook over indirect heat for 30 minutes. Brush the ribs with the sauce, and baste and turn every 10 minutes, for an additional 30 minutes.
Remove ribs from the grill. Serve with additional sauce on the side.
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.