Sticky Spicy Ribs was a success. There are two basic cuts of ribs from different parts of the pig: Baby Back (aka Loin Back ribs) and Spare ribs. Back backs are popular because they are leaner, tender and have a milder flavor comparable to Beef Filet Mignon. Spare Ribs have a more robust flavor comparable to a Beef Ribeye.
I purchased Baby Backs from my grocery store and made this homemade rub the night before.
Rub for ribs:
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons paprika (not hot)
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
The above measurements will make enough rub for four pounds of baby back ribs (2 2-lb racks). In my opinion the single most important thing you can do for successful ribs is to season overnight with a robust dry rub. This means you need to plan ahead! This dry rub is absorbed into the meat overnight and give so much flavor to the finished product. Whatever combination of spices you decide to use, I would recommend the use of brown sugar to aid in caramelizing.
When you are ready to cook the ribs, be sure to pull them out of the fridge and let them sit out on the counter for about 30 minutes in order to bring them to room temperature.
Put your oven rack in the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the ribs, meat side up, in a baking pan and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 1/4 hours.
While the ribs cook in the oven, make this homemade BBQ sauce:
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (from 1 large)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cook the onion, garlic and ginger in oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
Taste and adjust to your liking. I didn't think the sauce was going to be spicy enough for us and I was completely shocked at the awesome BURN these have. It all comes from the ginger...don't skip the ginger!
Purée sauce in 2 or 3 batches in a blender until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Set aside 1 cup of the sauce for serving with the ribs for dipping. Put the remainder in a bowl and grab a BBQ Mop or brush to take to the grill.
My grill man! My domain is the kitchen and Jim rocks the grill! At this point your homemade BBQ sauce is made and your ribs are coming out of the oven. Go ahead and prepare your grill for cooking over indirect heat with medium-hot charcoal or moderate heat for a gas grill. Here are some grilling guidelines from epicurious:
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.
To cook ribs using a gas grill: Lightly oil grill rack, then transfer ribs to rack above shut-off burner, reserving pan juices. Grill, covered with lid, basting generously with pan juices and sauce and turning over and rotating ribs every 10 minutes (keep ribs over shut-off burner), until ribs are tender and browned, 30 to 40 minutes total. Transfer ribs to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before cutting into individual ribs.
Cook's note: 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.
Sticky Balsamic Ribs - I love this recipe that uses the drippings from the oven process combined with balsamic vinegar for a finger licking good mopping sauce.
BBQ Beef Ribs - Instead of dry heat in the oven, these beef ribs cook in a moist braise of orange juice and chinese chile garlic sauce.
Lamb Ribs - An experiment in braising with four different recipes, testing both Alton Brown and Ina Garten along with tips from from Michael Chairello. (My girl Ina won!)