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These Spiced BBQ Tender Back Ribs are the perfect addition to your summer cookouts, paired alongside Sweet & Spicy Stove Top Beans and other warm weather favorites!
While pride may go before the fall, let’s be honest for a moment, shall we? For us hosts, nothing is ever quite so satisfying, or pride inducing, as impressing the guests. Indeed, we want our guests to greet our tables with equal measures of awe and envy, and to thoroughly enjoy every moment they share at that table.
However, reaching this level of ‘host nirvana’ can itself be a daunting and at times frustrating task. For example, as the weather warms, guests expect the gatherings to move from the comfort zones of our dining rooms into the sun-soaked bastions of the great outdoors. This, of course, presents entirely unique challenges.
Chief among those challenges, naturally, is that seasonal beast that can intimidate even the best of hosts. I speak, of course, of the charcoal fired grill. An artifact spanning continents and millennia, the charcoal fired grill represents perhaps one of the most lasting vestiges of our primitive past, a sort of fiery connection to an era that faded away long before the first bits of history were recorded upon clay tablets. Yet, here it is, seemingly as enduring as humanity itself.
However, with Memorial Day and the 4th of July coming up, the grill is a beast that simply demands to be conquered if the season’s most believed recipes are to be served. Sadly, however, increasingly few such gatherings move beyond the staples of hamburgers and hotdogs. Now, while I won’t deny that a flame grilled hamburger is simply delicious, or that a lightly charred hotdog is an indulgence with few equals, our horizons need not be so limited when it comes to employing the grill.
For example, ribs are one of the season’s most iconic items, and for good reason. Fall off the bone texture, dueling layers of flavor from the smoky essences of the charcoal and woodchips, to the succulent layers of dry rub and barbeque sauces, to the natural juices of the meat itself – ribs are easily a contender for the season’s most prized grilling items. Yet, they are also, wrongly, considered to be one of the most formidable to prepare properly.
While I won’t say that the perfect ribs are simple, easy, or quick, they certainly aren’t the ‘Gordian Knot’ of the grill that some mistakenly believe them to be, and that brings us to today’s recipes. What I will say is that, no matter one’s level of expertise, grilling ribs need not be avoided for fear of complexity. For example, Smithfield’s HogWild Throwdown Contest is centered around precisely this message, with Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone sharing their tips and tricks for exceptional, and surprisingly simple, rib grilling tips.
Since the base of today’s recipe is, of course, the ribs themselves, we start with a pack of Smithfield Extra Tender Back Ribs, which I picked up right at my local Walmart. Simply put, these are great ribs for grilling, being hand-trimmed, and free of hormones or steroids. In other words, these are a like a ‘secret weapon’ when it comes to grilling.
Now, the way I prefer to cook my ribs is long and slow over charcoal, this ensures both maximum tenderness, and that coveted smoky flavor. To do this, rather than place the ribs directly over the fire, I prepare the ribs with a dry rub in a deep disposable aluminum tray. To meld with all the best aspects of slow cooking, I prepare my ribs with salt, paprika, Jamaican curry, brown sugar, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. This ensures a balance of spice and complimentary notes for the smoky flavors the ribs will pick up from the charcoal.
After rubbing down the ribs as shown below, I set them in the aluminum tray with about a cup of water on the bottom. I then cover the pan with foil, and set them on the grill for about 2-2½ hours. For this purpose, I do prefer Kingsford Charcoal simply for the reliability of the product, which makes it perfect for long grilling sessions such as this.
- 2 racks of Smithfield Extra Tender Back Ribs
- For the Rub:
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbs. paprika
- 1 tbs. Jamaican curry
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbs. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and mix.
- Rub each rack of ribs with the rub on both sides.
- Place in a baking pan with one cup of water at the bottom of the pan.
- Cover the pan with tin foil. Poke small holes at the top of the foil.
- Place the pan on a bbq and close the lid with the vents open.
- Let bbq for 2 – 2 ½ hours.
While the ribs are on the grill, I use the hours to prepare the rest of the day’s spread. To pair excellently with the ribs, I put together stovetop baked beans, which I prepared with jalapenos, bacon, and molasses as shown below for a slight twist on the old classic. To complete the tablescape, I prepared two loaves of homemade bread, in place of the more predictable biscuits, a spicy Thai-style coleslaw, and a spicy mango chutney. This gives the tablescape some seasonal colors, as well as providing the menu with crisp seasonal freshness.
- 28 oz. can of baked beans
- 29 oz. can of red kidney beans
- 2 – 3 strips of bacon – cut into small pieces
- 1 large sweet onion – sliced
- 1 Jalapeño – grilled with seeds
- 1 Serrano pepper – grilled with seeds
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic – grilled and chopped
- 2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 vine-ripe tomatoes – diced
- 1 handful of fresh basil – ripped
- 1 tbs. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tbs. brown sugar
- 3 – 4 tbs. molasses
- 2 tbs. butter
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- Heat a cast iron sauce pot with the butter, olive oil and bacon pieces.
- Add the diced tomatoes, grilled Serrano peppers, grilled jalapeño pepper, sweet onion, grilled garlic and fresh basil; sauté until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are softened.
- Add the baked beans and red kidney beans and seasonings.
- In a small bowl combine the cider vinegar, molasses and ketchup and stir together.
- Add this mixture to the beans and stir.
- Cook for about 30 – 35 minutes on a gentle heat partly covered.
Now, whether host or guest, grilling expert or novice, this is a seasonal spread that’s sure to please.
On a closing note, don’t forget about Smithfield’s HogWild Throwdown Contest, which include two Ford F=150’s as grand prizes. If ever there was a time to test your grilling mettle, this is it.
Enjoy with Love!