What makes for a good, all-around barbecue seasoning?
For me, it’s a mix of herbs and spices that gives you a layered, well rounded flavor with enough heat to make it interesting, and enough tangy sweetness to balance the rich flavor of the meat without overwhelming it.
I’ve had a lot of fun creating my own barbecue sauces. After playing with sweet chili sauce in my Thai Sweet Chili Spareribs recipe, I wanted to try a recipe that uses traditional barbecue spices but uses sweet chili sauce for the tang and sweetness.
2 pounds pork country-style ribs
1 tablespoon barbecue rub (Penzys Barbecue of the Americas, this time)
1 cup sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy is good and ubiquitous, but The Ginger People’s Sweet Ginger Chili Sauce rocks if you can find it), divided
Combine the rub with a 1/4 cup of the chili sauce. Put the ribs in a zip-top bag. Pour the sauce over the ribs, turning to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it, and stash in the fridge overnight.
Set your grill up for an indirect cook at 300°F. I used the inverted plate setter on the Big Green Egg and a drip pan filled with water to diffuse the heat. Add your smoking wood (apple, in this case) and when the grill reaches temp and the smoke has turned blue, arrange the ribs over the drip pan. Close the lid and let them cook, flipping every hour, until they reach 160°F internal (about 3 hours).
Lay down a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and move the ribs to the center of the sheet. Pour 1/4 cup of the chili sauce over the ribs. Fold the foil over the ribs and crimp tightly. Move the foiled ribs back to the grill and cook for another hour.
After an hour, carefully pull back the foil and check to see if the ribs are done. Their internal temp should be around 190°F and the meat should fall apart when you poke at it with a fork. If they are done, remove the foiled pack of ribs from the grill and let them rest for 15 minutes before slicing. If they’re not done, reseal and return them to the grill until they are.
I thinly sliced the rib meat and served it over rice with the remainder of the chili sauce on the side.
The combination of barbecue spices and sweet chili sauce is a real winner. The chili sauce just melts into the ribs and pulls all those lovely herbs and spices with it. As far as cuisine, it could really go either way – served over rice it was a great Asain-ish dish, but it would have gone just as well with baked beans and coleslaw. The next step is to build a barbecue sauce using sweet chili sauce as the base.
Sadly, the pack of “boneless” country ribs I picked up looked a whole lot better in the store than they did on the grill. They were certainly not boneless, and had a bunch of nasty cartilage. What meat there was was very tender and tasted great, there just wasn’t a whole lot of it.
Three ounces of meat is 387 calories and 10 Weight Watchers points, so this is best in a meat-in-a-minor key recipe. A few flavorful slices over a veggie-laden rice pilaf makes a great meal.
ONE YEAR AGO – Oven-Baked Oatmeal
TWO YEARS AGO – Suck Creek Thighs & Corn Pudding