Rubbing it in

I’m having a great time this summer trying out all kinds of different ways to grill and BBQ foods.
Earlier on I posted my secret rib recipe.
Well, I have another one now and the title of this post should give you a clue.
I finally decided to try ribs on my grill without precooking them and rubbing them instead. In doing so I discovered 2 things.
1. It’s easier
2. They taste even better
Granted, you have to like your grilled meats boldly flavoured and I’m not talking about just drowning then in some BBQ sauce or smoking them with some exotic or raunchy woods.

The other neat thing about rubbing your ribs is that there is really no wrong way to rub the ribs. Essentially you can just o through your pantry or cupboards and see what you’ve got that makes any sense. After that, and providing you have some stuff to play with, you can impart your ribs with a variety of flavours and call them “Cajun”, “South Western”, “Mediterranean”, “French Prevençal” or whatever depending on what you are going to mix up for the occasion.

Here is my ZenGourmand version:

Makes about 250ml (1 cup) which is enough to rub 2 rack of baby pork back ribs.
50 ml (4 tblsp) fresh rosemary leaves, ground up in a mortar (crushed if all you have is dry)
50 ml (4 tblsp) fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped (use dry if you don’t have fresh)
50 ml (4 tblsp) freshly cracked black pepper (use ground white if you want to be more French)
5 bay leaves, crumbled as fine as you have patience for
8-12 juniper berries* (this can be a challenge to get unless you pick them yourself or try your healthfood store)
25 ml (2 tblsp) ground cumin
25 ml (2 tblsp) salt

Now mix this all up thoroughly. If you are making this ahead of time, or if you are multiplying the recipe to last you all season, place the ingredients in a jar of appropriate size, close with a tight fitting lid, shake it well to thoroughl blend all the seasonongs and store at room temperature.

If you are going to do the ribs the same day, take your ribs and rub your creation onto them on both sides and on the ends, patting them to make the rub stick. Don’t be shy, use lots.

If you are in a hurry, you can proceed to grill your ribs right away but if you want a more sensational taste and have the time, place them in suitable dish, cover them with foil and “marinate” them in the fridge for 4 hour or more. Just remove them sufficiently ahead of time to let them come up to room temperature before tossing them on the grill.

So now we get to the grilling part.
Does your grill have a smoking chamber? Great. Soak a good load of your favorite wood chips (mesquite, hickory, chipotle), and load up the smoke chamber. Keep enough chips soaked and ready to toss in the smoker over the time it takes to cook the ribs, about 1.5 – 2 hours.
Fire up your grill full blast on the side with the smoker only. Get the smoke happening but then keep the grill at 180 C (350 F). Put the ribs on the grill and slowly cook for 1.5 – 2 hours depending on your grill. After about 30 minutes, start basting (mopping) them with a suitable and complimentary BBQ sauce (try to match the smoke and the sauce to the ingredients). For the ZenGourmand rub, use mesquite chips and a mesquite sauce or chipotle chips and chipotle sauce.
This accomplishes two things.
1) It prevents your ribs from drying out
2) It gives the an additional flavour attitude and a nice looking glaze

<>Don’t forget to turn the ribs once in a while and top up the smoker.
The ribs are ready whee they look read and the meat wiggles from the bone.


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