Monday, September 15, 2008

Barbecued Ribs (Sort Of); Cooking & The Perfect Storm

I'd love to be a TV weatherman. You work a few hours a day, play with really cool computers, use complex words like "occluded front" and "temperature inversion", and then you get to go on TV and say things like, "There's a 50% chance of rain tomorrow".

What? A 50% chance of rain. Isn't that like saying, "Here's a coin, heads it rains, tails it doesn't", "Thanks and goodnight. See you tomorrow".

Now I know it's more difficult than that. I believe when a weatherman tells you there's a 50% chance of rain, that means there's a 100% chance that 1/2 of you are going to get wet. But still, a 50-50 chance. Where I come from that's called guessing.

I had a couple of slabs of baby back ribs that had been sitting in the freezer for a few months. Thursday the weather forecast showed rain Saturday, clearing Sunday with a 50% chance of rain. Perfect; thaw, rub, sit overnight, cook Sunday, eat.

Hurricane Ike hit Houston early Saturday morning. It roared through Texas, damaging buildings with 100 MPH winds and inundating the countryside with feet of rain. At it's peak the storm was 600 miles wide.

Due to a "slowing of the low front" and "increased upper atmospheric winds" Ike arrived in the upper Midwest at about noon Sunday. 50-50 chance of rain? It was a deluge and I was 100% drenched. Six inches of rain in 24 hours. Damaging winds knocking down power lines and tearing roofs from houses. Not only did it rain cats and dogs, but also mice, birds, otters and
ferrets. It was a mess.

What was a crab to do? Is Crabby afraid of a little water? Scared he's going to melt in the rain?

HA! I laugh in the face of danger.

So, making a major adjustment to my technique, and feeling uncomfortably like Charles Laughton in "Mutiny on the Bounty", I soldiered on. Refusing to fore go all barbecuing, I stepped outside and took Mother Nature's best shots. I said we were going to have ribs and by gum we were going to have ribs.

I got very, very wet.

But I did succeed. What follows is not my usual approach to rib making, but if you're ever caught in a hurricane dropped to tropical bipolar (sorry, depression),
downgraded to pestilential storm, well then this is the recipe for you. If you can dry out, enjoy...

Crabby's (Sort Of) Barbecued Ribs
by Crabby

2 full slabs baby back ribs
1 1/2 - 2 cups Crabby Rub

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup additional BBQ sauce
1/4 cup orange juice

2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (Crabby-Q is quite nice)

Crabby Rub
by Crabby

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 onion powder
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup dried thyme
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely ground coffee
(yes, that's right, coffee)
1 TBSP cumin

Combine all ingredients in a large jar. Shake vigorously while your children are watching. Try not to yell at them as they laugh at you. Store in a cool dark place. Use liberally.


At least 24 hours prior to cooking, liberally sprinkle both sides of the ribs with approximately 3/4 cup of Crabby Rub. Massage the rub into the meat. Wrap each rack tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

In a medium bowl, mix the 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and 1/4 cup of orange juice together. Add sliced onions, marinade overnight.

Remove ribs from refrigerator at least 1 hour prior to the start of cooking.

Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees.

Unwrap ribs and place in a single layer in a large baking dish. Do not overlap the racks; if necessary use two baking pans. Distribute the onion and sauce mixture over the ribs. Tightly cover the ribs with aluminum foil.

Place ribs in oven and bake for 3 hours. Yes that's right, 3 hours. Take a walk, go to a movie, watch the game, just leave them alone for 3 hours.

Pre-heat your grill to medium heat. If cooking in a tropical monsoon don appropriate clothing such as a rain slicker, snorkel, mask and life vest.

After three hours, transfer the ribs to the grill and with the meat side down, grill for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the ribs over and swab them with barbecue sauce. Grill, bone side down for an additional 30 -45 minutes.

Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with beer (I prefer Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss or Labatt's). I suspect WWBob will recommend a Spanish Rioja.

OK crablings, that's it for today. I don't know what I'll be posting next, though looking at my water-logged hands, something with prunes might be appropriate.

Remember, if you can swim, you can do it, you can cook.


Braeg Heneffe said...

Think i might have to give that recipe a try, i'll cook it in house on my Range Cooker though, won't have to worry about Ike ;)

WineWizardBob said...

I like Ike, shows my age. And Crabby knows me well, I love Rioja with pork rubbed and grilled, but... the sweetness of the sauce is too much for Rioja. To balance the sauce, the dominating flavor of this dish, pick a red Zinfandel from the Terminator's state of California. Or an Aussie Shiraz. But don't spend a lot, the schmear on your fingers can cause a wine glass to slip, spill and smash.

Anonymous said...

Those ribs look amazing -something to try for the weekend I think! Thanks for sharing.