Chef Andy: BBQ sauce to tickle your ribs
By Andy Mueller
As grilling season hits warp speed around the area, options are almost limitless as to what you can cook on the grill.
Burgers and brats are the most popular, but a tender, juicy rack of ribs with tangy, sweet BBQ sauce caramelized on top makes for tough competition.
The sauce is what makes the BBQ ribs, but don’t forget to know your rack and how to cook each style correctly.
The three most common cuts you find in the grocery store are spare ribs, St. Louis style and baby back ribs.
Each one looks and cooks a bit differently, so know what you’re looking for.
The spare rib, cut from the belly, is larger on one end and tapers at the other end.
There’s lots of meat and fat for flavor, but the uneven cut can yield tender at one end and tougher at the big end because of the size difference.
St. Louis style is basically a spare rib that has been cut lengthwise to make the rib even in cut and uniform in shape.
It still has plenty of meat but the uniform cut makes consistent tenderness throughout.
Baby backs, (not from baby pigs) are cut from the back of the animal, running along both sides of the spine.
Baby backs have more bones per rack than St. Louis or spare ribs, so there is less meat between bones.
I also find them to contain more cartilage than I like.
They require less cooking time for the meat to be tender, but that means they don’t get enough cooking time to break down the tough connective tissue.
I almost always grab the St. Louis style ribs because they are uniform in cut, easy to work with and the low-and-slow style of cooking makes the meat tender, juicy and free of unwanted chewy bits.
This recipe combines a two-step cooking process.
First is low and slow in the oven, then a 15-minute finish on the grill to caramelize the sauce and impart that great smoke flavor.
Try this BBQ ribs recipe at your next cookout and continue that grill master journey.
Chef Andy Ribs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Remove the thin membrane on the underside of the rack using a sharp-tipped knife to release the edge, then use a paper towel to grab the membrane and pull it off.
This membrane will not cook away and will be tough and undesirable on the palate.
Place racks in a large roasting pan, add one cup water, the juice of one lime and a tablespoon of liquid smoke.
Season ribs with salt and pepper, cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 3 1/2 hours.
Remove from oven, remove foil, place racks on large tray to rest for 15 minutes so the juices settle back into the ribs.
This would be a good time to light your grill – keep half of the grill hot for direct heat and the other half not heated.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat add:
• 3 cups ketchup.
• 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar.
• 1/4 cup apple juice.
• 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar.
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce.
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
• 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt.
• 1 tablespoon molasses.
• Generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper.
Whisk all ingredients together and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat, slather on the ribs and place the racks on the cool side of the grill. meat side up.
Cover the grill, open the top vents if using charcoal.
Check every 5 minutes or so, as the grill is acting like an oven baking and caramelizing the sauce.
This process can take 5 to 20 minutes depending on your grill and how caramelized you like your sauce.
Transfer to a serving platter and dig in.
Chef Andy Mueller is owner/chef of Galley 57 Supper Club in Bellevue – galley57.com.
Editor’s note: To read another recipe from Chef Andy, CLICK HERE.