This recipe calls for baby back ribs but it can also be made using ribs or St. Louis ribs. The ribs, which come from the pork belly area, are flatter, creamier and more flavorful, but because of their marble, they take a little longer to cook; Add at least another 10 minutes to the “low and slow” cooking time, then use visual cues to determine when they are soft enough to move to direct the heat. This recipe will also produce more coating than you would need for two racks of ribs; You can serve it on the side or use it to glaze poultry the next time you grill.
active time: 40 minutes total time: 2 hours 40 minutes, plus overnight cooling
moving forward: The ribs should be rubbed and refrigerated for at least 12 hours or up to two days before grilling.
Storage notes: Place the ribs in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Leftover glass can be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to one year.
Remove the silver film from the back of the baby’s back ribs by sliding a butter knife under the skin in the middle part, lifting and loosening it so that you can grab one part of it with a towel, so you can tear off the first side, and then the other.
Dry the ribs well and brush each one with a tablespoon of mustard.
Ribs treat: In a small bowl, mix together sugar, cumin, paprika, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cover the ribs on both sides with a dry rub. Place in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days.
Grilling the ribs: Take the ribs out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature for about an hour before grilling.
Prepare the grill for indirect heat (see notes). Place a heatproof or aluminum frying pan next to the coals on the cool side of the grill. Pour enough water into the pan to come up at least 1 inch from the side. Lay the net over the pot and charcoal and place the ribs bone-side down in the pan. Close the grill and adjust the heat to keep the temperature around 300 degrees. Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.
Making the glaze: While grilling ribs, in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, bourbon, molasses, orange peel, cloves, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook until cherries begin to soften, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and, using an immersion blender, puree the glaze until smooth. (Alternatively, you can put the mixture in a blender or food processor with a spoon and puree until smooth.) Return skillet to medium-low heat, and continue cooking, uncovered, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside; You should get 2 cups of glaze (you will need 1 cup for glaze).
Have a cutting board and serving platter at your fingertips.
Grease the ribs with glaze and turn them over to the direct heat of the grill. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, then brush the ribs with more glaze and flip so that they are meat-side down. (If you have any flare-ups, move the ribs slightly to the side so they are not directly above the open flame.) Continue grilling, uncovered, until the sauce begins to caramelize, 5 to 10 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut between the bones. Place the ribs on a serving platter, brush with more glaze and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Notes: To prepare your gas grill for indirect heat grilling: Cover and preheat with all burners on high to 300 degrees. When you’re ready to cook, if you’re using a three-burner grill, turn off the middle burner and reduce the heat of the other burners to medium-high. Many two-burner grills are set up for indirect heat, so you can simply place the food in the middle of the cooking grate. Heat one burner over medium heat and leave the other unused.
If using a charcoal grill: Fill a chimney with charcoal, turn it on, and when the coals ooze, arrange them on both sides of the pan, leaving an empty spot in the center. If the grill is too small to allow for an empty spot, push the coals to one side, leaving the other side empty. Pour enough water into the pan to come up at least 1 inch from the side. Replace the cooking grate, and set the oven or grill thermometer on top. Cover the grill and heat it over medium-low heat, about 300 degrees. For a medium-low fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 8 seconds.
If using a charcoal grill, the recipe may take about 15 minutes longer.
Oven method: These ribs can be slowly roasted for an hour and a half to two hours in a preheated oven at 300 degrees as well. For caramel glaze, eventually, lift rack to about 6 inches from grill and roast for 3 minutes, watching carefully so that the glaze does not burn.
From food writer Alison Rubicelli.
Tested by Todd A. Price.
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