Ribs are found in almost every country under different a guise. In America, they're traditional to the American South, particularly Texas. Everyone in the USA knows ribs and different types lead to heated discussions amongst discerning food lovers. Their bold, big flavours bring people together to create the ultimate barbecue.
½ head white cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced
½ head red cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced
1 medium onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced
250 ml (1 cup) white wine vinegar
180ml (¾ cup) vegetable oil
220 g (1 cup) sugar
1 tbsp salt
1½ tbsp dry mustard
1 tbsp celery seed
125 ml (½ cup) chicken stock
Dry spice rub
2 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
4 racks pork baby back ribs (about 3-4 kg)
2-3 tbsp dry spice rub (see above)
1-2 bottles of dark beer
3 cups chipotle sauce (recipe follows – or use your favourite barbecue sauce)
25 g butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeño chilli, chopped
400 g can tomato puree
1 smoked chipotle chilli (see Note)
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, chopped
60 ml (¼ cup) white wine vinegar
80 ml (⅓ cup) Worcestershire sauce
80 ml (⅓ cup) Tabasco sauce
2 tsp tomato paste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 6 hours
To make the marinated coleslaw, in a stainless steel mixing bowl, layer the sliced cabbage and onion. In a 2-litre saucepan, combine the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, dry mustard, celery seed, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Pour the hot liquid over the cabbage and onion but do not mix. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and marinate for 6-8 hours or overnight in the fridge. Toss before serving. The cabbage slaw can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the dry spice rub, combine all ingredients. Can be stored in an airtight container. Makes about ⅔ cup.
Rub the ribs on both sides with spice rub. Place in a large resealable bag or on a large sheet of aluminium foil placed in a large roasting pan. Cover with beer and seal. Marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Remove the ribs from the bag or aluminium foil and bring to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a large baking tray with aluminium foil and remove ribs from marinade. Lay ribs on top, and tightly cover with foil. Roast for 2 hours.
To make the chipotle sauce, heat butter and saute onion and jalapeño. Add to a blender with tomato puree, smoked chipotle chilli, molasses, sugar and garlic. Blend the sauce and return to pan over medium heat. Add vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and tomato paste. Simmer until reduced and quite thick. If too thick you can add a little water. (Can be made ahead and stored in fridge.)
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
Remove ribs from oven and uncover. Place the ribs onto the hot barbecue grill, brush ribs with sauce so that it caramelises onto the ribs. Cook over heat for 6-8 minutes on each side.
Remove from barbecue and serve with marinated coleslaw or your favourite accompaniment and additional chipotle sauce on the side.
Chipotle chilli can be found in specialty stores that provide Mexican products.