We are not going to brine the ribs. That's too much work. We are going to get major flavor from them, though, in 2 ways.
One, we are going to semi-cure them -- the outside anyway -- and dry out the exterior, so it crisps up nicely.
Two, we are going to a make a sweet bell pepper mop infused sauce, or whatever you want to call it, for a BBQ sauce, to slather on for the last 1/2 hour or so, and some extra, for serving the ribs with. I think it's very, very good.
OK, pick the pork ribs of your choice; they can be baby backs, or spareribs. The only difference will be the cooking time. The sauce that follows is based on 1 rack of ribs -- if you have more increase the sauce accordingly.
With either cut, we will lay the ribs in a large sheet pan, and lightly salt, pepper (use freshly ground black pepper), and sugar (use light brown sugar) the top and bottom of the ribs and the trimmings.
Then put the uncovered pan in the fridge overnight or until a couple of hours before you are ready to grill. At which time, pull them out and let them come to room temperature before grilling them.
I do cheat and start with a commercial sauce; I like a bottle of Stonewall Kitchens Mesquite Steak Sauce, not for steak, but for PORK, and a small jar of Hoisin Sauce, say 8 oz, to start the mop or BBQ sauce, and then:
I add a very nontraditional Bell Pepper reduction. You can do without it if you like or just use your favorite BBQ sauce, but I am willing to go the extra mile! For the Flavor! And the Bell Pepper reduction does combine vinegar (acid), salt, and sweet flavors, which are traditional, so ...
Oh, you need a juicer!
8 to 12 red, yellow, or orange sweet bell peppers, depending on size
16 cloves of garlic
1 large sweet or Vidalia onion
1 TBS salt, preferably sea salt, or to taste
Rice Wine Vinegar, approx 1/2 cup
Juice the first 3 ingredients, and add the salt, and vinegar, but add about 10% by volume only, approx 1/2 cup depending on the juice in your peppers and onion.
Now reduce the pepper juice mixture by about 75%, that is, leaving only 25% of the original volume of liquid.
The remaining pepper liquid should have become a little thick and syrupy.
Check the seasoning. You should have a bright, sweet, somewhat garlicky and oniony, but not salty liquid -- if the flavor does not pop enough add salt a TSP at a time until the flavor develops.
Good. Mix it all together, that is, the Mesquite Steak Sauce, the Hoisin, and the Bell Pepper reduction you've just made. Taste it. If you want something hotter, add your Hot Sauce of choice, or some Huy Fong Chili Garlic mix, for a really good kick. You don't want to add the Bell Pepper reduction, or make it? Fine. The Mesquite/Hoisin mixture is great by itself.
Now we are going to grill the ribs at 300 DEG until they are tender and nearly done. For those of you with a digital meat thermometer, that's about 180 degrees. For those of you who do not, that's when 1/8" of bone starts to show at the sides of the racks of ribs and the ribs are knife tender, but not fork tender.
If you are doing this on the grill, be sure to use indirect heat, and do not place the ribs directly over the open flame.
At the 180 DEG point with 1/8" of bone showing, we begin to mop the ribs with the mop/glaze every 15 minutes or so, for about 1/2 hour(3 mops) to 45 minutes (4 mops), at which point the ribs will measure around 190 to 195 DEG , and they will show 1/4" of bone and start to pull apart easily.
They are done.
Happy Memorial Day! Or, at this point, since we are posting late on the holiday, Happy 4th of July!
You don't actually need an excuse ...