Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spice Rubbed and Grilled Pork Ribs 

With Homemade Tangy Barbeque Sauce

Everybody knows someone who is a master on the grill.  I am not one of them.  Not yet.  But I am working on it.  I have been chomping at the bit for months trying to decide what kind of spice rub I would like on not only ribs, but chicken, roasts, and various other cuts of meat.  My taste buds LOVE heat, spice, and tang, all the same time.  So I Knew that when I put together my own spice rub, the spices had to incorporate Asian, Indian, and good old American flavors.  For this barbeque, here is my rub recipe.  For a three pound rack of ribs, there's no leftover spice.  If you double or triple it, you can store your rub in a tightly sealed container for upwards of six months. Here is the recipe:

Martin's In-House Cook Spice Rub
2 big tablespoons of Lawry's Season Salt
2 big tablespoons of Paprika
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Chipotle powder or, your favorite ground chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons dried, ground rosemary ((I like the wood, pine-like flavor it adds)
1 tablespoon of thyme
2 tablespoons of dried, minced onion
2 tablespoons of dried, minced garlic (Or ground garlic.  I like to roast the season mix first, then grind it)
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons (or tablespoons, whatever makes you happy) ground ginger 
1 or 2 tablespoons cumin seeds or 1 tablespoon ground cumin

Part of my rub includes some fresh ingredients:   The zest and juice of two lemons, three cloves garlic, finely minced, and one yellow or vidalia onion, quartered, and finely minced.  Combine the zest, garlic, and onion into one bowl, and the lemon juice in another.  I'll explain soon. Promise!

In a small fry pan or skillet, add all of the ingredients and roast over medium-then-low heat. Do not burn!  If you see smoke, remove from the heat.  You just want to warm them up to release their flavor, particularly the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds.  This should take no more than five minutes with a flip or stir of the pan a couple of times.   Once the rub ingredients has sufficiently roasted, remove them to a spice or coffee grinder.  Let cool for a couple of minutes before you grind.  And, if this is your coffee grinder, clean it out, or your morning coffee will contain some surprising flavors!  Remove the spice to a bowl and set aside.

Now, prep the meat.  I removed the membrane on the rib underside as I have been learning to do via books, tv food shows and live demos I have been an audience member of. It was very easy.  I was happy about that.  While it was against my better judgement, I separated my three-pound rib slab into three sections in order for them to fit on my grill.  Not that it is small, but the slab was just that, a big 'ole honkin' slab! (Happy me!)

Alright, moving on.  Drizzle and rub the lemon juice -  fresh garlic and onions over the top, fleshy side of the slab. Next, starting with the underside, rub about half of the spice rub all over it.  Repeat over the top and the sides.  Set the whole slab (or sections) aside for about half an hour.  

Meanwhile, let's talk about sauces.  Now, you can go out and purchase whatever sauce you like, but if you have a desire to make grilling your own, which I do, wouldn't you like to make your own homemade "bbq" sauce?  You already know what types of flavors I like.  You can make your sauce meet the types of flavors you enjoy.  Experiment, practice, and perfect.  Exactly what I have been doing for years.  I have finally perfected my own sauce, a sauce that marries most all of the flavors I truly savor.  Here's my recipe:

Martin's Secret (Well, Not Anymore) Grilling Sauce

3 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
1/2 vidalia or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grape seed oil  (or whatever oil you like to use)
2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce and Kung Pao Sauce, each (4 tablespoons of Tamarind Sauce is great, too, in the stead of the HS or KPS!)
1 tablespoon low sodium Soy or Tamari Sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons Spicy Brown Mustard 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon dried, ground oregano
small pinch of salt 
2 tablespoons Cento Red Wine Vinegar  (But you can use whatever vinegar you like)
1 + teaspoon of Chipotle Powder or your favorite ground chili powder, or, 2 finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo
*optional, to taste, the juice and zest of a lemon (I used it last evening in my sauce)
1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 teaspoon ground ginger, or, 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
 *One item I love to incorporate into my sauces is finely chopped, rendered bacon.  But I forgot last night. Ugh!

What to do:
Add the oil to a saucepan over medium heat.  Once the oil ripples, add the garlic and onions. Add the small pinch of salt, and cook until the onions get a little soft.  Add the Red Wine Vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, lemon juice and zest, and all of the other sauces.  Incorporate the sauces with the aromatics and simmer for about three or four minutes.  Next, add all of the dry ingredients and incorporate well, for about four minutes, followed by the ketchup.  Bring to a roiling simmer, then reduce the heat to low.  I KNOW you are saying: "Why not just put it all in the saucepan and cook it up?!?"   Well, you can, but I have learned that each layer's flavors enhance the sauce at every step.  For me, it like building a layered cake, each layer with its own flavorful attributes.  Again, that's just me.  But when making sauces, there is a step-by-step process, staring with the aromatics (onions, garlic, lemon, etc.), adding and building your sauce from there.  The sauce should take about 20 to 30 minutes, altogether, over low heat.  The longer the flavors marry, the better the sauce.

Tip:  If you like your sauce smooth, blend it.  If you do not care about that, since the onion and garlic will be very soft, you do not need to blend.  It is all your preference.  

Schools of thought:   Steam or Boil, or not to?  I have, for decades, boiled my pork ribs, but I have been hearing much more often that steaming is better than boiling, but in many cases, particularly of slow barbequing and smoking, steaming is not necessary.  I did not steam or boil my slab of pork ribs last evening.  I rubbed it with lemon juice, garlic and onion, and set it aside "to work", as opposed to a brine, even. 

To "bbq", arrange a side of the grill that is hot (to sear) and a side that is "cooler" to slow cook. Of course, the "cool" side has to have coals, but you want more heat on one side than the other.  Begin with the rib bones side down over the "hot" side.  Sear for five to eight minutes, then turn.  Afterwards, move the slab or slabs to the "cool" side and let it go for 18 minutes, without turning.  Important:  do not keep turning and poking.  Just let it go!    At this time, brush the slap or slabs with your homemade sauce. Give it a thick coating. After 18 minutes, turn and slather with the sauce, and again, let it go. 

If you prefer your meat much more well-done, leave it on each side for an additional five minutes.  If not, remove the ribs and let them rest about ten minutes before cutting them. 

To cut them, follow the meat space between each rib bone.  Use a very sharp knife for this, and cut between the ribs. 

If you like more sauce, slather the individual ribs with extra sauce.  You could also pour the remnant in a bowl and allow your family or guest or guests add their own.