BBQ Baby Back Ribs - Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6
3 slabs (1 ½ to 2 pounds each, 5 to 6 pounds total) pork baby back ribs
2 cups ketchup
½ cup cider or malt vinegar
2 tablespoons BBQ spice, purchased or homemade (recipe below)
1 tablespoon chile powder (a combination of ancho and chipotle is good)
½ teaspoon red chile flakes
¼ cup dark molasses
½ to 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
If necessary, cut each slab of ribs in half to fit your smoker. Remove the membrane along the inside (bone side) of the ribs. If this membrane is left on, the ribs will only smoke on one side, and the meat will also be tough to bite through.
To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Liberally coat the ribs on both sides with the sauce, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Prepare your smoker according to the manufacturer’s directions. I always wait 20-30 minutes after starting the fire to be sure it has burned down and the coals are ready and not flaming. Once you start smoking the ribs, resist the temptation to check them more than once every 30-45 minutes, as long as there are no flames. When the meat has pulled slightly away from the bones and taken on a rosy pink tone, they have smoked enough. Depending on your equipment, the heat of the fire, the weather, and so on, this could take from 3 to 5 hours. Remember, the wetter your smoking wood, the redder the finished meat will turn out.
To serve, cut the slabs of ribs in half and serve them up with a good supply of napkins.
Housemade BBQ Spice
This BBQ spice is also very good on burgers, chicken breast, French fires, and popcorn. You can substitute pure chile powder for the ancho and New Mexico chile powders.
Makes about 1 ½ cups
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons celery seeds
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 ½ teaspoons New Mexico chile powder or pure chile powder
1 ½ teaspoons ancho chile powder or pure chile powder
5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
5 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
1 ½ teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Run the mixture through a coarse sieve several times for an even mix. Keep dry in a tightly closed container. Packaged, it makes a great gift.