This was our delicious Fourth of July meal. The ribs came from “Semi-Homemade Grilling” by Sandra Lee. I changed up her recipe quite a bit. She calls for using a dry rub on the ribs, then glazing them with a sauce in the last few minutes of cooking. However, she calls for something called teriyaki mix in both the rub and the sauce. I had no idea what that was, but apparently the brand Kikkoman makes it, so I looked it up online to get the ingredients so I could improvise it. I was appalled at the ingredient list. So much sodium and so many chemicals! I ended up completely ignoring that part of the recipe.
The salad was also really good. It makes me feel better about eating ribs if I have salad on the side. I used red leaf lettuce (because I had some laying around), and the dressing was a homemade Barbecue Vinaigrette. I found this in my newest Steven Raichlen book, “Sauces, Rubs and Marinades.”
CHERRY COKE BABYBACK RIBS
3 racks pork babyback ribs
1/3 cup all-purpose barbecue rub (make your own or buy a commercial brand you trust)
Salt and pepper if your spice rub is lacking
For the Sauce:
1 cup Cherry Coke
1 cup barbecue sauce*
1/3 cup cherry preserves
2 tbs all-purpose barbecue rub
Set up your grill for indirect cooking over medium heat. If necessary, use a knife or pliers to remove the membrane from the ribs. Pat the seasoning onto both sides of the ribs.
Add some smoked wood chips to the smoke box or over the charcoals, depending on whether your grill is gas or charcoal. Make a drip pan out of aluminum foil. Place it under where the ribs will go. Place the ribs on the grill grate over the drip pan, meat side up, and cook for about two hours total. You know they are done when the meat pulls back and exposes about a quarter inch of the bones. Add more charcoal and wood chips after one hour of cooking.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
About 20 minutes before the ribs are done, flip them so the meat side is down. Brush generously with some sauce. Cover and cook ten minutes. Turn ribs over; brush again with the sauce. Cover and cook the final ten minutes. Remove and cut into individual ribs. Serve hot with remaining sauce on the side for dipping.
*A note on barbecue sauce: homemade is always best, but that’s not always feasible with everyone’s busy lives. When I buy barbecue sauce, I always read nutrition labels carefully, and I avoid brands that have high fructose corn syrup or many preservatives. I find that they taste better the more authentic the ingredient list is, too.
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs barbecue sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 head of lettuce, chopped
Combine all ingredients except lettuce in a blender and puree until smooth. Alternately you can whisk them together in a mixing bowl or shake them all together in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. This makes one cup. Toss with the lettuce (if using only one head of lettuce, you won’t need all one cup; reserve some or reduce the recipe). Enjoy!