Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The star of our Christmas meal: smoked ribs

Dad and Mom saw an episode of America's Test Kitchen called Rainy Day Barbeque. The result of dad's special smoked ribs, modified from the show's recipe, is stellar!

If you live in a house with a sensitive smoke detector like ours, plan on having a couple of helpers when the smoke alarms goes off, to either fan the smoke away, or climb up on a chair to unscrew the offending alarm.

Oven-Barbecued Spareribs

Serves 4

6 tablespoons mustard (we used Dijon)
2 tablespoons ketchup (we used sodium-free ketchup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar (we substituted this with 3 tablespoons of honey)

2 racks spareribs , 2 1/2 to 3 pounds each, trimmed of surface fat, membrane removed each rack cut in half
1/4 cup Lapsang Souchong tea leaves (finely ground)—from about 10 tea bags, or 1/2 cup loose tea leaves ground to a powder in a spice grinder)
(Dad used a mixture of jasmin, hojicha, black tea, and other assortments from our ever-growing tea cabinet)
1 cup apple juice

1. For the Rub: Combine mustard, ketchup, and garlic in small bowl; combine pepper, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and sugar in separate small bowl. Spread mustard mixture in thin, even layer over both sides of ribs; coat both sides with spice mixture, then wrap ribs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

[For a deeper flavor, we just mixed everything together -- the mustard, ketchup, honey, garlic, and all the spices, and coated the ribs with the mixture]

2. Transfer ribs from refrigerator to freezer for 45 minutes. Adjust one oven rack to lowest position and second rack to upper-middle position (at least 5 inches below broiler).

Place baking stone on lower rack; heat oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle ground tea evenly over bottom of rimmed baking sheet; set wire rack on sheet.

Place ribs meat side up on rack and cover with heavy-duty foil, crimping edges tightly to seal.

Roast ribs directly on stone for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees, leaving oven door open for 1 minute to cool.

While oven is open, carefully open one corner of foil and pour apple juice into bottom of baking sheet; reseal foil. Continue to roast until meat is very tender and begins to pull away from bones, about 1 1/2 hours. (Begin to check ribs after 1 hour; leave loosely covered with foil for remaining cooking time.)

3. Remove foil and carefully flip racks bone side up; place baking sheet on upper-middle oven rack.

[We then coated the ribs with a mixture of sugar and soy sauce]

Turn on broiler; cook ribs until well browned and crispy in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Flip ribs meat side up and cook until well browned and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve with barbecue sauce, if desired.

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