Dear god I love ribs. I am in love with the spare rib, for certain, but lately I’ve been cheating and having a torrid affair with its slim, high-rent cousin, the baby back rib. Sure, it’s less meat, but they tend to be easier to cook (and take a lot less time), but on average you’re also spending $3-5 dollars more per pound. Something to consider.
Now, a lot of BBQ purists and snobs and know-it-alls (and everywhere you turn, there’s some guy who claims to be the authority on BBQ) will scoff at sauce. You know what? I like a saucey rib. For one, I like condiments, and a rib sauce is like the ultimate opportunity to indulge your condiment fetish (a good thing if you’re — like me — the Marquis de Sade of condiments). Almost anything can be added, in sparing amounts, to a rib sauce. Why not seize the opportunity to put your shit to good use?
And sauce tastes good. Mind you, I dry rub my ribs too. I suspect they would taste pretty good without a saucing, if you went the extra steps and took special care in cooking and smoking your rib. But licking your fingers after every rib, wiping excess from your cheek (yes, that is uncomfortably pornographic), well, why would I deprive myself of such an experience for the sake of somebody else’s idea of authenticity?
And screw those BBQ snobs. America has been around, what, a couple hundred years? These guys act like they invented the fucking pig. The delicious swine (and cow, and lamb, and goat, and anything with blood) has been quartered and grilled and smoked for thousands of years. The rest of the meat-eating world didn’t suddenly wake up and take notice the moment some solipsistic asshat in St. Louis or Kansas City or Austin or Memphis or Carolina proclaimed himself King Shit of Fuck Mountain.
Use any/all of these, in any amounts you’d prefer. Experiment and find your spice rub g-spot, if you will. Feel free to add to this list — it’s not exhaustive by any means. Ground coffee or espresso? Onward, brave soldier.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Ground coriander
- Ground cumin
- Celery salt
- Mustard powder
- Chili powder (New Mexico, pasilla, de arbol)
- Ground cloves
- 5 spice powder
- Extract of wort and/or wormwood
- Macerated erosberries
- Ground farrah root
- Essence of taint
Soak your ribs in a cold water brine of equal parts kosher salt and brown sugar for an hour. Some people add apple juice. Those people are my heroes. But my daughter drinks the apple juice in our house, so if I poured half her shit into a brine just to throw away it would be like her using my smoked hungarian paprika as a pigment base for her water coloring. Have some respect and empathy, people. Pat the ribs dry, and coat both sides with your most excellent rub. Prep your grill by building up your coals on one side, and proceed to BBQ on the cool side with the cover on, for about 2 hours, turning as you feel the need (usually every other beer or so – just make sure you aren’t drinking Hair of the Dog’s Fred are your ass will be kicked). For the last 15 minutes, I like to remove the ribs, remove the cover, and bring the heat/fire back up. Coat the ribs with your sauce and then return the ribs back to the grill to finish.
Let them cool for a bit (if you can resist the urge to gnaw the entire rack down to bone nubs). Slice and enjoy.
Der rib sauce
Like I previously stated, anything can go in a rib sauce pretty much. This is shit I had in my fridge and pantry, and the measurements are approximate. In reality, I just dumped shit in the pan. Remember, most anything will be work if you match the sweet and savory and acidic. Though I would probably steer clear of marshmallows, cod liver oil, and crystal meth.
- 1 tblsp maple syrup
- 7 dashes worcestshire
- 2 tblsp CJ brand hot and spicy Korean BBQ sauce
- 1 tblsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 tblsp ketchup
- 1 teaspoon hoisin
- 1 teaspoon korean fermented black bean paste
- 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 1 teaspoon Buffalo chipotle sauce
- 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
- 3 tblsp water
- 1 tablespoon Hennesey VSOP cognac
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Mushroom Stir Fry Sauce
- 1/4 cup Stella Artois beer (I happened to be drinking this at the time. Use a lager or whatever you want. It’s your life.)
Combine all this shit in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for an hour and a half (preferably while the ribs are cooking or you’re the worst multi-tasker in the world).