Monday, April 29, 2013

Baby Back Ribs Redux

Yesterday, in honor of Spring finally arriving to Minnesota, I made a batch of the Baby Back Ribs with Maple Glaze (recipe below), from my Modern Maple cookbook. I didn't have any of the apple juice I used in the "official" version in the book, so I used apricot nectar to make the sauce (seen grillside in the photo at right, along with a Schell's Emerald Rye). The apricot nectar made the sauce kind of sweet, but it had a nice taste. I also grilled some sweet potato spears, and oven-roasted some Brussels sprouts with Smude's sunflower oil and a little seasoning. A wonderful combination.

The ribs are rubbed with a seasoning mixture and refrigerated for a few hours, then steam-baked in the oven until tender. Final step is to grill them, basting and turning with the homemade maple-based glaze/sauce. Crusty goodness!

Baby Back Ribs with Maple Glaze (from Modern Maple)

I'm a huge fan of slow-smoked ribs, so when some friends served us ribs prepared with this oven-cooked method I was quietly skeptical. Two bites into the meal, I was begging them for the recipe. Its simplicity is amazing: the ribs are pull-off-the-bone tender but still have a wonderful, chewy char on the outside. Our friends used bottled barbecue sauce to finish the ribs on the grill; here, a preliminary marinade provides extra flavor and the ribs are finished with a sweet, tangy maple glaze for an irresistible dish. Serves 4.
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons paprika, preferably smoked Spanish
(sweet, not hot; Penzeys is a good source)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder (not onion salt)
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2 racks baby back ribs (1 ¾ -2 ¼ pounds per rack)
¾ cup maple syrup
¾ cup apple juice or water
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup minced or grated white onion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (such as Tuong Ot Toi)
In a small bowl, stir together all marinade ingredients. Cut each rack of ribs into 4 pieces; place in a large nonreactive baking dish. Pour the marinade over the ribs and rub into both sides, distributing it as evenly as you can. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or as long as 8 hours.
For the preliminary cooking, heat oven to 350 degrees. Add about an inch of water to a roaster or other large baking dish. Place a rack in the roaster, propping it up on balls of foil if necessary to raise it above the water. Stack the ribs on the rack; pour any liquid that has accumulated under the ribs into the roaster. Seal the roaster tightly and bake for 1½ hours. Remove roaster from oven and set the lid slightly ajar; let the ribs rest for 30 to 40 minutes. While the ribs are resting, prepare the glaze. Combine syrup, apple juice, tomato paste, onion, mustard, and chili-garlic sauce in a small nonreactive saucepan. Heat to boiling, adjust heat so mixture boils gently, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
Once the ribs have rested and the glaze is ready, you can proceed directly to grilling or refrigerate the ribs, loosely covered, for up to 12 hours before grilling; also cool and refrigerate the glaze if you are going to wait more than an hour before grilling the ribs.
When you're ready to grill, prepare a charcoal or gas grill with a direct, medium-intensity fire. Place the ribs on the grate and cook until hot, turning frequently. Brush a generous layer of glaze on the top side of the ribs. Cook for about 2 minutes, then turn ribs over and brush again with glaze. Continue cooking the ribs, turning every few minutes and brushing with additional glaze, until the ribs are crusty and browned in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with plenty of napkins.

1 comment:

  1. Makes me want to go mushroom hunting!!