I declare that 2010 is the year of ribs! I think I’ve eaten more ribs this year alone than in the rest of my life combined, and it’s only October, plenty of time yet! There’s been all you can eat rib-a-thons at Mumu Grill, Café Ish and Waterfront Grill, as well as some delicious specimens sampled at South, Buzo, Sugarmill and Taste of Sydney (I still dream about Danks St Depot’s watermelon smoked beef ribs). What could be more beautiful than perfectly marinated meat, absolutely falling off the bone, with no cutlery required! It’s quite primal, I suppose, gnawing meat from bones, but makes me glad to be a carnivore, because, well, animals are delicious.
It was only a matter of time before I shared my own recipe for ribs. It’s one that I’ve made a few times this year and that I now deem perfect. It’s loosely based on a recipe from this year’s Masterchef, following the same method with a spice rub, a good grilling on a smoky barbeque, and then followed by a slow braise in the oven, soaking in a saucy marinade. I’ve changed up the ingredients in both the spice rub and the marinade a little to create an incredible combination that is a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, but massively delicious. Especially with a beer, or a summery cocktail.
This recipe is quite time consuming to tackle all in one day, unless you’re planning a very late lunch, but if you prepare the spice rub the day before, the pork ribs can marinate in the fridge overnight. And if you have a handy man about the house to tend to the barbeque, you can prepare the marinade in the meantime. But make sure you’ve got snacks while they’re braising, because hot damn they smell so amazing my mouth was literally watering, while my stomach was growling.
In the future I’d really like to try cooking beef ribs, I think they’re quite a different specimen to pork ribs but equally if not even more delicious. And I have the recipe for Jared’s watermelon ribs from his beautiful cookbook Sharing Plates! I served the pork ribs with crinkle cut chips – a personal favourite – but you could serve with piping hot cornbread, coleslaw or salad.
BBQ Pork Ribs
Adapted from Masterchef
• 1.5kg American style pork ribs
• Olive oil
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon salt
• ½ teaspoon chilli powder (to taste)
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ brown onion, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons Maple syrup
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• ¼ cup red wine
• 1/3 cup bourbon
• ½ onion, finely chopped
• 1 tomato, finely chopped
• Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the ingredients for the spice rub in a bowl. Using your hands, rub the mixture into the meat to coat completely. Set aside in an air-tight container in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.
Heat a BBQ or char-grill plate over high heat. Drizzle olive oil onto ribs and toss to coat. Place ribs fat side up and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until sealed.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place marinade ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened slightly and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer ribs to a large oven-proof dish and pour over marinade. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 1 ½ – 2 hours, turning 3-4 times throughout, until meat is tender and falling off the bone. You can remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking to crisp up the outsides slightly. Serve with chips.