Friday, June 3, 2011

Southern "Rub Me" Ribs with Sweet Barbecue Sauce

I love Southern Barbecue!  And outside of the South, it is difficult to find truly amazing Barbecue, but the wonderful thing is that barbecue is unique.  Everyone can mix and match spices and ingredients and come up with their own versions.  Barbecue is truly American and rather Democratic that way!  So, with the summer months ahead, I give you a very simple Ribs recipe, with a dry rub and perfect for grilling and cookouts!
Ingredients for Ribs:
1 package Pork Ribs (I would go with a rack, preferably St. Louis, but if not, a baby back rack will certainly work)
Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Ground Cayenne
Ground Cinnamon
Chili Powder
Crushed Red Pepper
You will notice that I did not include measurements for the spices.  This allows you to tweak your Rub to get the flavors YOU want and to make your Barbecue unique.  I will give you a tip specific to this Rub:  a good rule of thumb is to use two tablespoons of every spice.  However, I usually go a bit heavier on the Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Parmesan, Cumin, Cayenne and Cinnamon.  My goal is always for a peppery Rub, with some underlying sweetness.
I invented this Rub after many trips to the South, and many attempts in my own kitchen.  And, so as to never forget, I wrote down every single ingredient and taped it to the refrigerator.  Yes, scotch tape!  I never wanted it to be removed from the refrigerator.  I titled the Rub: "RUB ME", which always makes me smile to look at it.  I swear that the Rub is so good, that anything you put it on would undoubtedly want to shout "Rub me, Rub me, Rub me".  I truly think it's a winner!  When the spices have been combined in a bowl, stir thoroughly.  It is critical to get all the spices blended together in one uniform rub.  If you do not mix well, you may have one portion of your rib very spicy and peppery, and another side could be overly sweet and sugary.  So mix well!  When ready, generously "Rub" over your Pork Ribs until they are coated and you can only barely see the pork meat.  Place in an oven tray and bake for 2 hours at about 300 degrees.
While the Ribs are in the oven, it is time to create your sweet Barbecue sauce.  Since I like my Ribs a little spicy with some pepper kick, it is great to have a sweet component to compliment them. 

Ingredients for Barbecue Sauce:
Ketchup, 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar, 1 cup
1/4 Onion, finely chopped
Lemon juice, 1 tbsp.
Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 cup
Liquid Smoke, 3 tbsp.
Worcestershire Sauce, 2 tbsp.
salt/pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl.  I usually add the Brown Sugar last.  Stir ingredients until mixed well.  I recommend tasting frequently.  Much like the "Rub", you can adjust the ingredients of the Barbecue sauce to match your desired sweetness and flavor.  Make it your own!  When mixed well, set aside until the Ribs have about 10 minutes left in the oven.  At that time, place in small pot on medium heat and begin to reduce the barbecue sauce until somewhat thick, it should only take about 10 minutes.  When complete, remove your Ribs and brush Ribs with Barbecue sauce generously, but definitely leave some Barbecue sauce left-over.
Once you have brushed your Ribs, place on grill or griddle for about 4-6 minutes.  This will lock in the flavors and really finish the Ribs off the right way.  When done, use the left-over Barbecue sauce and pour on the Ribs and serve with your favorite sides, like sweet-potato, greens and corn-bread!  These are a crowd-pleaser and I can't wait to make them again!

Enjoy!- John

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