World's Greatest Ribs!

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Barbeque
Serves/Qty: 4
Marthinus Strydom

If there is any one food that could give apple pie, hot dogs, or burgers a run for its money as being true American cuisine, it would be BBQ. The smoky flavors are amazing.

The Story

The tradition of cooking the meat slow and low over indirect heat has become so popular that it has spawned an entire culture. BBQ has a long history, at times touched by controversy, as is imminent by the BBQ feuds of the South. And, the history of ribs is deeply submerged in this culture. The history of BBQ ribs is as diverse as BBQ itself. It’s a path that began in the Caribbean, traveled north by Spanish Conquistadors, moved overseas to the Americas, and then seasoned with flavors of European settlers.

When Pigs Fly (or Sail) The history of ribs could not be complete without mentioning how and when pigs arrived in the Americas. On the insistence of Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus brought pigs along on his voyage to Cuba in 1493. However, Hernando de Soto landed in Tampa Bay, FL in 1539 with America’s first 13 pigs. In just about three years the flock grew to over 700 pigs, both domesticated and wild! Since that time and throughout U.S. history, BBQ pork ribs have become the quintessential American food.

The Beef Vs. Pork Controversy Residents of the BBQ Belt, an area that stretches from the Carolinas to the East to Texas and Missouri in the West, and from Kentucky in the North down to the deep South would argue that pork BBQ is the only BBQ. Purists go a step further even to discount the beef-based BBQ of Kentucky and Texas as inauthentic. The pork supply in the south was cheap and easy to raise and required many fewer resources than raising cattle.

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Ingredients
Adjust Quanities

2 pork rib racks
fresh coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp ground chili powder
2⅓ tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup minced onion
1½ cup water
½ cup tomato paste
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
2½ tbsp honey
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh coarse ground black pepper
1 tbsp very good whiskey
2 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika (must be smoked)
½ tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dark molasses
½ tsp ground chili powder (to your taste)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  2. Cut each full rack of ribs in half, so that you have 4 half racks. Remove most of the fat from the ribs.
    You can use any pork rib, but try and get the short ribs or otherwise known as Baby Back Spare Ribs. They have more meat and less fat.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper (more pepper than salt), and 1 teaspoon chili powder orflakes over meat.
  4. Wrap each half rack in aluminum foil. Seal tightly to keep the moisture in.
  5. Bake for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  6. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Cook and stir the onions in oil for 5 minutes or until properly caramelized.  
  8. Stir in water, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce.
  9. Season with salt, black pepper, whiskey, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, dark molasses, and ground chili pepper.
  10. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat.
  11. Simmer for 1 1/4 hours, uncovered, or until sauce thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  12. Remove from heat, and set sauce aside.
  13. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. When I say high heat, I mean really high. Get it as hot as you can.
  14. Remove the ribs from the oven, and let stand 10 minutes.
  15. Remove the racks from the foil, and place on the grill.
  16. Grill the ribs for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
  17. Brush sauce on the ribs while they're grilling, just before you serve them (adding it too early will burn it). You want a nice chac on the ribs. Brush the sauce on. Wait until caramelized and charred. Brush more and layer the sauce. Char, brush, char etc. 4 times. Turning over each time. You want almost burnt spots on the ribs. 
  18. Serve with extra heated sauce and fries!

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