Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Smoked Ribs with Spiced Maple Barbecue Sauce

Smoked baby-back pork ribs are so delicious all by themselves that you can enjoy every smoky, succulent bite without any sauce at all. That said, a rich, tasty homemade sauce slathered on toward the end of cooking time adds an extra depth of flavor, whether spicy, sweet, savory, or all three.

For this recipe, I leaned toward the sweet side, with a bit of spice from serrano chiles and pepper flakes to balance the maple syrup—and make one scrumptious complement to the smoked ribs. The other important ingredient here is time: long, spice-rubbed marinade and long, slow cooking. You (and your guests) will be rewarded. 

Note: You need to let the sauce stand for a while after cooking to give the flavors time to deepen and the consistency to thicken. If you make it a day ahead, keep it covered in the refrigerator overnight and rewarm gently before brushing it on the ribs.  

For information and photos about preparing the ribs and using your grill as a smoker, see Smoked Baby-Back Ribs

Serves 4


For the Ribs
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • sea salt
  • 1 3-1/2-lb rack of baby-back pork ribs (membrane removed), cut crosswise in half
Spice Rub Ingredients
For the Sauce
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried chile flakes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Ribs
  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the ribs, coating both sides. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Spice-Rubbed Ribs
  1. Light a smoker, or prepare your grill to use as a smoker. Smoke the ribs for 15 minutes in one position, then turn them over and smoke for another 15 minutes. Smoke for a total of about 3-1/2 hours (for a 3-1/2-lb rack), shifting positions every 20-25 minutes after the first half hour. (Add more liquid to the pan with the smoking liquid as it evaporates.)
  2. Let the coals cool naturally so that the ribs cook low and slow during the second half of the process. (If they cool too much after a couple hours, use a chimney starter to add more gray coals to the smoker.) 
  3. Baste the ribs with barbecue sauce (recipe follows) about 5 minutes before removing them from the smoker. Let them rest 3-4 minutes before slicing.
Ribs Beginning to Smoke
Smoked Ribs
Ribs Glazed with Sauce
Stack the ribs on a platter and serve hot.

Smoked Ribs with Spiced Maple Barbecue Sauce
For the Sauce
  1. Place the parsley, garlic, serrano chiles, and shallot in a mini food processor and pulse until finely ground.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Scrape the parsley mixture into the pan and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
  3. Add the maple syrup and next 5 ingredients (through chile flakes) and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly, 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and let stand 30 minutes. (May also be made several hours or 1 day ahead. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Parsley Mixture Ready to Grind 
Ground Parsley Mixture 
Cooked Parsley Mixture 
Sauce Beginning to Cook 
Spiced Maple Barbecue Sauce

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