|Julian's Rose Garden|
Ribs: Several days in advance I select a nice rack of baby back ribs. Baby back ribs (sometimes also called loin ribs, back ribs, or Canadian back ribs) are taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs, below the loin muscle. The designation "baby" indicates the cuts are from market weight hogs, rather than sows. They have meat between the bones and on top of the bones, and are shorter, curved, and meatier than spare ribs. In my opinion they are the best ribs for grilling having smaller bones than beef ribs and are certainly more tender and less fatty.
With that said, they take a good bit of cooking time so I prefer to do most of the preparation in advance. I know some folks advocate simply pre-boiling the ribs for 10 minutes before grilling, but I really feel you lose so much flavor in the process it is not worth the time you save. Rather on a weeknight up to a week in advance, I roast the ribs in the oven covered in foil. Once cool they can be refrigerated and stored and awaiting your final grilling. Of course you can go right to the grill if you like and below I provide you with my detailed recipe. Feel free to substitute the homemade BBQ sauce for your favorite bottled variety. There are so many good options for sauces, you needn't feel guilty about making this choice to speed up your dinner.
|Crushed Almond Cookie Topping|
|Julian's Slaw with Bacon Pieces|
Corn: Sweet corn is not yet in season here in Chicago, but our local produce shop has been getting some nice, sweet ears in already. Give the corn at your store the test by pushing a fingernail into a kernel. It should pop with juice quite easily. If it does not, it is old and dry and should be avoided. Always remember that sweet corn immediately begins to convert its sugars into starch after it is picked. As such, you need the freshest corn possible. I always try and cook it within a day of purchasing it for this reason. If you've let yours sit for too long, you might want to sprinkle the ears with a little sugar and instead of dry grilling, wrap it in foil to help retain moisture. It won't have those nice brown grill marks, but it will taste better.
|Extra BBQ Sauce on the Side|
Now we simply turn off the grill and sever the dinner. The dessert can cool while you are enjoying this quick to prepare summer feast. And later when you are ready for something a little sweet, enjoy the berry crumble, perhaps with a small scoop of icecream on top. Mmmmm! Finger lickn' good!
BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs
- 2 (2 pound) slabs baby back pork ribs
- 1/2 cup table salt
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground red chili pepper
- Cut each full rack of ribs in half, so that you have 4 half racks. Using 1/2 cup of table salt and 1/2 cup of white sugar, mix with 4 cups of water and stir to dissolve. Place the ribs in a large zip locked back or a pan. Cover with the brine mixture and refrigerate for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 275F degrees.Remove ribs from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon red chili pepper over meat. Wrap each half rack in aluminum foil. Bake for 3 1/2 hours (cool and refrigerate for later use, or transfer to the grill after they come to room temperature.)
- As the y cook, make the sauce.
- Sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir the onions in oil for 5 minutes. Stir in water, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, liquid smoke, whiskey, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, dark molasses, and 1/2 tablespoon ground chili pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 1 1/4 hours, uncovered, or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, and set sauce aside.
- Preheat your outdoor grill. Oil the grill grates.
- Remove the ribs from the foil wrapping, and place on the grill. Grill the ribs for 5 minutes on each side until heated through. Then brush sauce on the ribs while they're grilling for another 10 minutes watching the ribs to ensure they do not burn.