Oh no! you may be thinking. This is Best Recipe #10! The series must be over! Have no fear, friends. This is a 12-recipe series. I’ll release the next two (including the easiest killer dessert you’ll ever make) tomorrow and Tuesday, before we all take off for the holiday.
The book: Indian Cooking Unfolded by Raghavan Iyer (Workman Publishing, $19.95)
The recipe: Grilled Baby Back Ribs
Why I tried it: Given that I’ve loved pretty much every grilled ribs recipe I’ve ever tried, I wasn’t sure I needed another. But the idea of starting right out a massive dose of fresh ginger and dry mustard – two of my favorite aggressive ingredients – was too good not to try. By the time I got to the words “chunky rub”, I was sold.
Why I loved it: In a lifetime’s and several pigs’ worth of ribs, these were exceptional, eyeballs-to-the-ceiling, swoonworthy. There’s that “chunky rub” – an express train to flavor right there. And then there’s that sour-sweet glaze, with that alluring tamarind thing which balances the tart and the fruity in that kiss-slap!-kiss-slap! way I can’t get enough of. It gilds the ribs front and back and reduces you to an absolute animal, if you aren’t one to begin with.
Estimated preparation time: 1 1/2 – 2 hours, but much of that is idle time. You can also marinate the night before, which will save you a little time.
Click here for my complete list of 2013 cookbook recommendations. Indian Cooking Unfolded is one of my top 10! You can also find many, many more recommendations for great cookbooks on my app, Cookbook Finder (available for your iPhone/iPad or Android device).
Grilled Baby Back Ribs
Author’s note: “If you don’t have a grill (or it’s freezing outside), use your oven to roast the ribs: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray a broiler pan, or a rack set in a roasting pan, with cooking spray. Arrange the ribs, meat side down, on the rack and roast them until well-browned, about 45 minutes. Turn the ribs over and roast them for 30 to 45 minutes longer. The meat should be tender and almost falling off the bone. Liberally brush the ribs with all of the glaze. Continue to roast the ribs meat side up, until the glaze looks slightly opaque and the meat is very tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let the ribs rest covered with aluminum foil for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing them between the bones.”
FOR THE RIBS
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground mustard
4 pounds baby back pork ribs
FOR THE GLAZE
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
1⁄4 cup maple syrup or molasses
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice, or 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
Nonfat cooking spray
1. Prepare the ribs: Mix the ginger, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the mustard together in a small bowl. Smear this chunky rub over the meaty side of the ribs. You can cook the ribs right away or you may also choose to cover the ribs and refrigerate them overnight to allow the flavors to permeate the meat. (I usually put the ribs on a sheet pan or baking sheet, as they are easily contained in one tray and don’t take up that much room in the refrigerator.)
2. Make the glaze: Combine the tomato paste, maple syrup or molasses, lime or lemon juice or tamarind paste, cumin, cayenne, cloves, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl and stir thoroughly.
3. When you are ready to grill the ribs, heat a gas or charcoal grill to high.
4. Lightly spray the grill grate with cooking spray. If you are using a gas grill, reduce the heat to medium. If charcoal is the name of your game, spread the hot coals to the sides for indirect heat.
5. Place the ribs on the grill grate, meat side down, and cover the grill. Cook the ribs until well-browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Check periodically to make sure the meat drippings don’t flame up and burn the ribs (if they do, I usually move the ribs to an unlit section of the grill for a few seconds until the flames die down).
6. Turn the ribs over so they are meat side up and cover the grill again. Cook until nicely browned and the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone, 20 to 25 minutes longer.
7. Liberally brush the ribs with the hot-sweet-tart glaze, using it all up. Continue to grill them, meat side up and with the grill covered, until the glaze looks slightly opaque and the meat is even more tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
8 Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, cover them with aluminum foil, and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
9 Slice the ribs between the bones (it’s okay to lick your fingers when no one is watching) and transfer them to a serving platter. Serve the ribs warm (this is a good time to bring out the bibs).
Reprinted from Indian Cooking Unfolded with the publisher’s permission. Copyright © 2013 by Raghavan Iyer. Published by Workman Publishing.