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!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

St. Louis-Style Ribs with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

St. Louis-style ribs are defined by the way they are cut—essentially, spareribs with the tips removed. Trimming off the curved ends makes a flatter, more uniform rack, which translates into more even cooking throughout.

Spareribs come from the pig’s belly-side rib cage, and they’re generally longer and meatier than their counterparts from the back, or baby-backs. Bigger can also mean tougher, so spareribs—St. Louis style or regular cut—benefit from long, slow cooking on a grill or in the oven.

For this recipe, I didn’t have a rack of ribs, but rather eight individual pieces, equaling about two pounds. I gave them a quick sear over the fire then set them off direct heat to finish grilling juicy and tender in about 1-1/2 hours.

St. Louis-Style Ribs
A couple splashes of bourbon in the barbecue sauce adds rich, oaky flavor and complements the spice of the chipotle and Tabasco. Make it a few hours ahead (or a day ahead) to allow the deepest flavors to develop.

Serves 2-3


For the Sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce (or other bottled hot sauce)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
For the Ribs
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 St. Louis-style ribs (about 2 lbs), membranes removed

For the Sauce
  1. Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and chipotle chile and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to medium and add the ketchup and next 6 ingredients (through Tabasco sauce) and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook 10 minutes.
Garlic and Chipotle 
Sauce Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Sauce
Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
For the Ribs
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the ribs. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Spice Mixture
Spice-Rubbed Ribs
  1. Light a grill for indirect-heat cooking, medium heat (350° to 375° and let coals, if using, cool naturally).
  2. Place the ribs over the flame to sear quickly, 2 minutes per side. Move off direct heat and cover the grill with the vents open.
  3. Grill the ribs, shifting positions every 15-20 minutes, until almost cooked through, about 1-1/4 hours.
  4. Continue grilling until cooked through, basting with the sauce a few times, 15 minutes longer.
Ribs Beginning to Sear 
Ribs after Turning 
Move to Indirect Heat
Grilled Ribs 
Basted Ribs
Stack the ribs on a plate and serve. 

St. Louis-Style Ribs with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

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