Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day BBQ Ribs and Stonewall Jackson's BBQ Sauce

2013. Memorial Day approaches.

Here is the start to my version of Summer with barbecued pork ribs.

The ribs are brined much like a turkey. Preparation time is about 60 minutes for both the ribs and the sauce. Cooking time for the ribs is 3 hours and 15 minutes. The sauce time is 30 minutes.

The time notation is thus: 2:45 is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Ribs and Brine
1 to 2 slabs of pork ribs per person (about 2 to 4 lbs.)
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 gallon of water
1 tsp cloves, ground
1/2 tsp black pepper

For every 2 to 4 pounds of ribs, make the above proportion of brine. The above brine is a 6% salt concentration. The water and salt (and sugar) must be adjusted so the meat is covered completely. You can make extra brine, cover the rib meat and discard the leftover.

BBQ Sauce
4 oz. onion, diced
2 cups celery, diced
3 tbs. butter
16 ozs. tomato sauce
2 tsp. mustard, yellow or Dijon
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. Key Lime juice (or any lemon or lime juice)
2 tbs. liquid smoke
2 tbs. malt vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. chile powder
3 cloves or 2 pinches of clove powder

Optionally, you may add to the sauce fresh garlic. I like to fortify the flavors with onion and garlic powder. The sauce can be made a day ahead and keeps very well in the refrigerator, as it has both citric acid and acetic acid as preservatives.

Mix the gallon of water with the salt, sugar and spices. After the salt and sugar have dissolved, add the ribs. You may have to slice the ribs into smaller sections that your container can hold. Weigh the ribs down under that brine with a plate or a plastic bag, filled with brine, for 60 minutes. Drain the ribs, pat them dry with paper towels and return to the 'frig until ready to use. The ribs can be refrigerated up to a day ahead of time. I don't worry about the 60 minutes un-refrigerated. The meat is in a salt brine and that knocks down bad microorganisms, at least for 60 minutes.

Preparing the ribs for the BBQ.

The ribs are to be steamed, covered, in the oven, for 3 hours at 275° to 300°F. (135° to 150°C.) This is to remove the fat as slowly as possible. The oven must be used, as it can be set to a more-or-less exact temperature. This unusual method of preparation will yield a tender, moist, meaty rib with little or no fatty flavor.

Pre-heat the oven to the above temperature Put a rack in a vessel with only 1 cup of water and add the ribs. Cover.

At 2:45 of cooking, pre-heat your BBQ grill. If using charcoal, start at 2:30. The ribs will cook, on the lowest heat for 7 minutes 30 seconds each side. After putting the ribs onto the pre-heated grill, slather the top side with warmed (or at least room temperature) BBQ sauce. Turn the ribs over and slather the cooked side with the sauce and cook an additional 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

Side Dish: Malt Vinegar Cole Slaw