Thursday, November 20, 2008

BBQ Ribs

BBQ RIBS!!!! This is one of those meals that I have been wanting to try. There are a lot of people in Texas who pride themselves on making great ribs, and I don’t want to be left off that list. There is a lot of pressure to do this well, mostly pressure I put on myself because I want to be great. Jim’s friend Travis “makes great ribs,” so the entire time I was making these I told myself, “These will be better than Travis’!”

Beef ribs are very large, and I found these at my local HEB grocery store.

Check out the cheapo price there!

9:00 PM - Place ribs, meat side up on a shallow baking pan.
Massage dry rub onto ribs. There are lots of recipes for dry rib rub, I found this at one of those grocery mart/gas stations while traveling across Texas for work - somewhere between Nacogdoches and Austin, Texas.

Back of the bag.

I put this on pretty heavily, and actually rubbed it all over the meat.

Cover tightly with foil and place in fridge overnight.

8:00 AM - The next morning I put these directly into the cold oven and heated it to 200 degrees. Many recipes say to bring meat to room temperature, but this is my compromise.

10:00 AM – The dry rub has definitely soaked in and started to get sticky.

I’m adding a braising liquid, nothing extraordinary – about ¼ inch of chicken stock to the pan.
Braising creates a moist cooking environment that renders touch meat TENDER. I covered tightly with foil and they go back in the oven and I turn the temperature up to 350 degrees. Find more info about braising here.

Meanwhile I am looking online for a moping sauce recipe. Alton Brown has one that I’ve used before on Lamb Ribs that I really liked. It contains white wine, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey and chopped garlic.

I am starting to see a pattern among all the sauces – they all have a type of vinegar or citrus, sometimes cider, sometimes white wine vinegar. They all have a dark flavorful sauce like Soy or Worcestershire. They all have a sweet ingredient that will caramelize like honey or brown sugar.

Emeril’s rib sauce contains ketchup, onions, cane syrup, red wine, lemon juice, mustard, brown sugar, garlic, jalapenos, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce, salt, and cayenne. This definitely sounds more along the lines of what I’m looking for. To me this screams STICKY and SPICY!

10:30 AM – While the ribs bake in the oven I make the sauce.
7 oz tomato puree/sauce/ketchup
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons spicy whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon of finely chopped and peeled fresh ginger
2 T butter

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat I add butter and onion, cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes .

I keep fresh ginger in the freezer, keeps for a long time and super easy to grate with my zester when frozen.

Add garlic and ginger to pot of onions and turn down heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add remaining ingredients and turn heat to low to heat through, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. I'm using tomato sauce because that is what I had available. Ketchup would work here too.

Worcestershire sauce.

Red wine vinegar. You could use apple cider vinegar here too.

Lemon juice.

This was the magic ingredient. Add molasses!

Thick and full of flavor!

This is smelling like BBQ now, strong and potent.

Brown sugar - to aid in caramelizing on the grill.

This is the grainy and spicy mustard.

These are jalapenos from a jar, but I bet fresh would have been better - and I would add more. I'm always saying that on here...add more spice!

This is the hot pepper sauce that I had in the fridge.

Salt and pepper. I would add more pepper next time.

In batches puree the mixture and return to the saucepan. If I had an emersion blender, I would have used it here. Be careful when transferring hot liquid to a blender or cuisinart.

Return to saucepan and heat through. Now is the perfect time to taste and adjust seasoning. I'm not going to lie...I didn't add anything because this was REALLY good!

11:30 AM – I lightly oil the rack on my gas grill and turn on both burners to medium-high. I let this heat up for 10 minutes then shut off one of the burners so that I can cook ribs over indirect heat. Remove ribs from oven, toss the foil and transfer the ribs to the grill.

The meat is already pulling away from the bone, but finishing them off on the grill and mopping with sauce is going to put these over the top.

To cook ribs using a charcoal grill: Lightly oil grill rack, then transfer ribs to area of rack with no coals underneath, reserving pan juices, and cook, covered with lid, basting generously with pan juices and sauce and turning over and rotating ribs every 10 minutes (keep ribs over indirect heat), until tender and browned, 30 to 40 minutes total. Transfer ribs to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before cutting into individual ribs.

Flip, mop. Flip, mop...every 10 minutes.

To cook rubs using your oven: If you aren't able to grill outdoors, after baking ribs covered, remove top sheet of foil and continue to bake ribs, uncovered, basting generously with sauce and pan juices every 10 minutes and turning ribs after 20 minutes, 40 minutes total. Then turn on broiler and broil ribs, meaty sides up, 4 to 6 inches from heat until browned, about 3 minutes.

Flip, mop. Flip, mop.

12:30 PM – We eat! Be sure to have damp washcloths nearby these are messy, but oh-so-good! I put the remaining sauce in a dish and served with lunch. The ribs were very thoroughly covered with caramelized sauce so I didn’t really use the extra sauce. I did put it in a sealed container and into the fridge. Jim is going to use it to mop over chicken later this week.

We gave the bones to the dogs to lick on for a little bit.

Oh, did we have two happy puppies!

Madeline was quick to get it in her ears.

They were very thankful for our leftovers.

So Jim, were these better than Travis’? I bet he doesn’t make his own BBQ Sauce!

Do it! Go forth and try that meal you want to conquer! Just jump out and go for it!!


  1. Got to love HEB ribs! Your BBQ sauce sounds great. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mmmm, RIBS!!! This looks wonderful Mandy! We love HEB. They're the best. We lived without one for a while and were soooo thankful when we discovered we had one in our new neighborhood (actually two).

  3. Those do look like some happy puppies!
    I'd try those ribs cause they look good, and I trust you, but I'm more of a pork rib girl myself!

  4. I'm going to try pork ribs next, I think I would like those better. The BBQ sauce turned out really well, but I'm holding out for a homemade BBQ sauce recipe from my grandmother - who used to own a BBQ restaurant in Houston. I'm not sure yet if she will let me share if on here, but if so you will guys will be first to know.


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