Well the election season is over and I can't help but wonder the effect that this humble little blog had on it. All three of its authors worked for political change in some manner, with Paul working for Obama in Indiana and actually turning his and Tom's home state blue for the first time since 1964. In honor of this, I present a presidential rack of ribs.
So everybody is going to have their take on the best way to make ribs. Ultimately the true determinant of a good ribmaster is patience. Ribs take a long time, both in prep and cooking, and in my opinion there isn't really any good way to cut corners. This is where we find ourselves, confronted with the daunting, and yet completely worthwhile task of preparing large quantities of ribs for hungry guests. Get the smoker going early in the morning, as early a possible (barring overindulgence from the night before, in which case you get a friend or roommate to do it). If you do not have a smoker you can rig your normal grill to do indirect cooking by placing a driptray in the middle and all your coals circling the outside of the grill, throw on some soaked chips and, voila, you have a smoker.
Once your smoker is going you should take your ribs that have been marinating in the fridge out and brought to room temperature. What should they have been marinating in, you ask? Well any number of things, but I went with a mixture of garlic, red wine, black pepper and a few other spices, all dependent on what you're in the mood for. After your ribs are more or less room temperature, you should apply your rub. The rub, in my humble opinion, is essential as it adds a flavorful crust to the outside of the ribs and also locks in all those juices that are trying to escape during the long cooking process. The rub I used this time was a masala (ground spice mixture) of ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, canela (mexican cinnamon), powdered ginger, salt and sichuan peppercorns. Rub it thoroughly on your ribs, don't be afraid to get messy as this is one of the joys of cooking (they forgot to mention that in the book).
Now that your ribs are on the grill, you're in the home stretch. Quickly make a basting liquid to apply during the later stages of cooking. If you want you can base it off of your marinade, that provides a bit of continuity. I used red wine, a bit of chicken stock and some ground chiles. Periodically baste your ribs, but for the last hour or two you're going to want to let them be so that the heat can crisp up the outside a bit.
Lastly we must make our sauce. This is were alot of the creativity comes in. I made mine with a whole host of items which I will graciously impart to our reading audience.
2 fresh tomatoes diced
1 can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup (purchased at Vietnamese grocery store)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons onion, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon chile paste
dash of fish sauce
3 tablespoons Zufran (banana sauce, also purchased at Vietnamese grocery store)
fresh ground pepper to taste
Sautee the garlic and onions over medium-low heat until they are soft. Add the remainder of the ingredients and let it simmer on low heat until it is the desired consistency. I like my barbecue sauces thick so I let it go for a while. Slather that sauce on your ribs when they are freshly out of the smoker, as I think this allows the sauce to better seep into the flesh. I liked this random sauce I put together on the spot, but I might tweak it a bit in the future. It was a nice balance between sweet, spicy and savory. These ribs are classically American in many respects, but much like our President-elect, they harmoniously incorporate many elements from the rest of the world, resulting in hope for a new rib future. On one final unrelated note: ¡Si Se Puede Obamanos!