This is an adaptation of Sally Schneider’s Lacquered Baby Back Ribs recipe from her book A New Way to Cook. The rich and spicy sauce is used both as a marinade and to baste the ribs when they are just about done to give them a nice caramelized finish.
I often do this recipe with country-style ribs instead of baby-backs. Country-style ribs aren’t really ribs. They’re cut from the shoulder roast (a.k.a. Boston butt). There’s a good amount of meat there, along with enough fat to keep them tender when they’re cooked low and slow.
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3-5 pounds of country-style ribs, boneless if possible
Combine all the ingredients except the ribs. Put the ribs in a big Ziploc bag and add the marinade. Seal the bag and turn to coat. Marinate overnight in the fridge. Let sit at room temperature for an hour before cooking.
Follow the directions for your particular grill to create a indirect fire that will burn for at least 4 hours at 300°F. Use a drip pan under the ribs to catch the fat.
Once the grill is up to temperature, add your smoking wood. If using a gas grill, place 2-4 cups of soaked wood chunks in the smoker box. If using a charcoal grill, toss a fist-sized lump right into the coals.
Remove the ribs from the marinade (save the marinade), put them on the grill, and close the lid. While the ribs are cooking, pour the marinade into a small saucepan, bring to a boil for about a minute.
Give the ribs a flip after they have been on the grill for 1 hour. At 2 hours, give the ribs a flip again and start checking internal temperature. Continue cooking until they reach 160°F internal (about 2-3 hours, depending on thickness).
While the country ribs are done at 160°F, they are not yet tender. Flip the ribs and baste them with 1/3 of the reserved marinade. Cook the ribs for 20 minutes, flip and baste. Cook for another 20 minutes, flip and baste a final time. Check the internal temperature – it should be right around 180°F. If not, flip them again and cook until they reach 180°F.
Serve the ribs as just as they are as finger food, or slice them against the grain and serve them drizzled with a little hoisin sauce. Any leftovers are great chopped up to make pork-fried rice.