I’ve got a history cooking with charcoal, working in pizzas places and also with South American barbecue. When cooking with gas or electric, you just get that heat, no flavour. At Fancy Hanks, we use chestnut wood and it just adds so much. I was travelling through the States for the first time a few years back and stopped in Kansas City, Oklahoma, at a cool little dive bar in an old petrol station. The style of pork ribs they do is they mop the meat with barbecue sauce, as opposed to marinate it in a dry-rub like they do in Memphis. The thing about this recipe is it also uses a different cut than is normally done in Australia – they’re baby-back cut, which is from the loin part of the ribcage and therefore has more meat on it.
- 4 racks baby back pork loin ribs (about 600 g) each
- 4-6 pieces of mesquite or hickory wood about 5 cm each
- pickles and coleslaw, to serve
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fine sea salt flakes
- 2 tsp celery salt
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2½ tbsp sweet paprika
- 800 g crushed tinned tomatoes
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 500 ml (2 cups) apple cider vinegar
- 50 g chipotle chilli in adobo
- 50 ml Worcestershire sauce
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.
Chilling time 2 hours
To prepare the barbecue sauce, combine ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the simmer, stirring, then reduce heat to low and simmer until a thick, rich sauce (50 minutes-1 hour). Set aside to cool then blend with a handheld blender or transfer to a blender, season to taste.
To prepare the rub, combine the peppercorns, mustard seeds and cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle and crush until coarsely ground. Add the rub remaining ingredients, stir to combine and set aside until required.
Preheat a kettle-style barbecue to 120°C. Set up for in-direct grilling by carefully pushing coals to one side with a heat-proof utensil (still keep coals in a pile to retain heat). Add 1-2 pieces of the wood.
Place ribs on a work surface, remove silver skin from the back of the ribs (discard). Place ribs in a tray, scatter over spice rub and rub into ribs. Add ribs to barbecue and cook for 1 hour, topping up coals and wood as necessary to maintain temperature. Baste ribs with barbecue sauce and cook ribs until tender and cracks appear between ribs (1 hour 40 minutes-2 hours). Cut ribs into pieces and serve with extra barbecue sauce, pickles and coleslaw.
Photography by Benito Martin. Food styling by Alice Storey. Prop styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey & Georgina Larby.
Pebble bowl in colour milk (coleslaw) from Mud Australia. Cosmopolitan milk bottle from Maxwell & Williams. Messermeister paring knife from Chef and The Cook.
Mike Patrick can be found at the oh-so-saucy barbecue joint Fancy Hanks in Melbourne.