Monday, February 27, 2012

Grilled Baby Backs With Sweet Soy Glaze

I made some of the simplest ribs ever today.  The rub was just salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  The sauce was just a handful of ingredients and a 10 minute simmer.  And Alexis dubbed them the best ribs ever*.

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The pig cut out was a Christmas present from my two boys for Alexis this year.  It's actually a chalk board with a pig frame. 

But first, how much does a rack of ribs cost at your favorite local restaurant?  Right now in Knoxville they run from $17.95 (from a place where I wouldn't order the ribs) to $22 at my favorite BBQ place.  

For less than the cost of a rack of ribs at your favorite restaurant, you can learn how to master making your own ribs at home.  Ribs that are better than the restaurant.  Ribs that are the best ribs ever.

How so?  In Spring 2012, Steven Raichlen is coming out with his newest book Best Ribs Ever.  

I know that any of my grilling and BBQ readers know exactly who Steven Raichlen is.  For anyone else, he wrote The Barbecue Bible.  That's not hyperbole.  He literally wrote The Barbecue Bible.  

He's a prolific author, wrote a NY Times Best Seller, and is a James Beard Award winner.  I first became aware of him through his BBQ-U and Primal Grill television series on PBS.  Yeah....he's no slouch!  

Here's a little bit more about Steven's upcoming book:
In BEST RIBS EVER, Steven Raichlen gives us Ribs 101, a crash course on the art of grilling and smoking, including how to properly set-up a grill and the rundown of the different tools that can be used (even how to make grill-quality ribs indoors!) He teaches us how to recognize different cuts of meat and what we should be looking for when shopping. Raichlen also goes over several essential cooking methods, as well as how and when to use each of them. And of course there are delicious, finger-lickin’ recipes for rubs, marinades, sauces, and glazes, along with accompanying sides, desserts, and even drinks!
So if it's not available until April 25th, why am I telling you about it now?  Two reasons.  First, you can pre-order it right now for only $13.95.  Second, in April I will be giving away an autographed copy of Steven Raichlen's Best Ribs Ever.  

In the mean time, the recipe that I used today is from one of my favorite Steven Raichlen's books, Planet Barbecue!
Nibble me this pork ribs, baby back ribs, glazed ribs, big green egg ribs, grill dome rib recipe

Nuri's Ribs:  Grilled Baby Backs with Sweet Soy Glaze

  • 1 cup Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kejap manis), or 1/2 cup each regular soy sauce and molasses
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs (each 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 cups fruit wood chips or chunks (optional), soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained
  1. Place the sweet soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, shallot, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, the white pepper, and 3 tablespoons of water in a heavy saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Let the glaze boil until thick and syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/3 cups, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring often. If the glaze becomes too thick, add 1 to 3 additional tablespoons of water. The sweet soy glaze can be made several hours ahead of time and refrigerated, covered. Let it come to room temperature before using.
  2. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of each rack of ribs. Season the ribs generously on both sides with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium. I urge you to get a charcoal grill for smoking, but you can use wood on a gas grill; you just won’t get as pronounced a wood flavor.
  4. When ready to cook, if you are using a charcoal grill, toss the wood chips or chunks, if using, on the coals. If you are using a gas grill, add the wood chips or chunks, if using, to the smoker box or place them in a smoker pouch under the grate. Brush and oil the grill grate. Place the racks of ribs bone side down in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat. (If your grill has limited space, you can stand the racks of ribs upright in a rib rack.) Cover the grill and cook the ribs until tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. When the ribs are done, they’ll be handsomely browned and the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about 1/4 inch. If you are using a charcoal grill, you will need to add fresh coals after 1 hour.
  5. During the last 10 minutes of grilling, brush the ribs on both sides with the sweet soy glaze. When the ribs have grilled for about 5 minutes after being glazed, move them directly over the fire. Brush the ribs on both sides with glaze again and grill them until the glaze is sizzling, 1 to 3 minutes per side.
  6. Transfer the ribs to a large platter or cutting board and cut the racks into individual ribs. Pour any remaining glaze over the ribs and serve at once.
I used the ingredients exactly as written.  I smoked my ribs at a lower temp (250f dome)  instead of indirect grilling them at 350f as the recipe calls for but followed the directions otherwise.  I used cherry wood as my smoke.  The cook was 3 hours naked, 1 hour foil, and another 30 minutes uncovered, when I glazed them.

My favorite time of the weekend morning - everything prepped and waiting for the smoker to come up to temp.

My favorite new condiment, totally NOT the same thing as soy sauce. 

The rub is about as basic as you can get, 3 ingredients.   
Nibble me this pork ribs, baby back ribs, glazed ribs, big green egg ribs, grill dome rib recipe
After glazing, finishing up on the Big Green Egg.

*For the record, an admission.  Alexis loved them because I over cooked the baby backs and they were just starting to "fall off the bone".  While most people love that, I like them properly cooked where it takes a slight bite or tug to eat them.