If there is one food that reminds me of my childhood it would have to be BBQ pork spare ribs. When my parents arrived back from a couple of years living and travelling around North America, they settled on the northern beaches of Sydney and it was there that they started the fast-food chain, The Rib Runner. American style BBQ was hard to come by in the late 80’s early 90’s here in Australia and it was a food they had come to love living in the US and missed not having it. The Rib Runner started life as a basic Texas style BBQ takeout and home delivery, doing ribs and wings, baked potatoes and coleslaw. It later added Tex-Mex options such as slow cooked Chili Con Carne and burritos etc. As the popularity of this delicious cuisine grew, so did The Rib Runner with eventually 5 stores around Sydney before being sold in 1998.
So as I mentioned before, Dad suggested that I need more meaty ‘dude food’ on the blog so hopefully this satisfies. I am now handing you over to my dad. Enjoy.
This recipe may seem a bit fiddly, but if you follow the steps, you will be rewarded.
Classic “American Style” ribs are a “rack” of 12 to 13 ribs. The rib cage is generally cut down the middle leaving a curved half from the spine end (chine) which the Americans call “Baby-backs” and a flat half from the belly end simply called “spare ribs”. The baby-backs are concidered more desirable. The problem with both these cuts in Australia is it is hard to find them with any volume of meat on. If you like meat on your Ribs, there is this cut taken from the first 5 ribs from the shoulder. As you can see, these have plenty of meat on them, and are what I used here. You can get them from certain Chinese butchers as well as the Clancy James chain of Butchers around Brisbane.
What is QBBQ Sauce I hear you ask? Well, it’s my take on the classic American rib sauce. I’ve substituted Bourbon and apple juice, for Bundy and pineapple juice, two classic Queensland products, hence the extra “Q”.
Buy the best, meatiest racks of ribs you can find, preferably the curved ones, approximately 500gms per rack, 1 per person. I like to remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs, it does allow better penetration of the rub.
This is how classic Baby-backs should look after 4 to 5 bastes.
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 small brown onion, finely diced, (brunoise)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup good quality tomato sauce (Ketchup)
1/2 cup Masterfoods BBQ Sauce (non smokey)
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup Bunderberg Rum
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Masterfoods Smokey BBQ Sauce (I prefer a subtle smokiness, add more if you like it smoky)
1 tablespoon molasses
Hot chilli sauce, (I prefer Chilli Willie’s Blurter Hurter Chilli Sauce ,however I used Sriracha here), to taste (Do NOT use Thai Sweet Chilli), we prefer it quite hot.
Combine the rub ingredients and rub generously into the ribs until an even red colour. Set aside.
Sweat the onions in a saucepan with a little oil until translucent. Add the curry powder and cook for a few seconds to release the aromatics. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes to combine and cook off the alcohol and thickened to a nice sauce consistency.
Spread out 4 sheets of foil enough to wrap each rack individually, place a generous dollop of sauce on the foil and place the rack on top, meat side down. Wrap the racks tightly in foil, place in a roasting dish meat side down and bake for 50 – 60 minutes at 120°C to 140°C, depending on your oven. The lower and slower the better (90°C – 110°C for 2 – 2.5 hours is ideal). This part is critical to the texture of a perfect rib. Underdone and they will be tough, overdone and they will disintegrate. When they are just right, remove from foil. There should be a little liquid in the foil and the meat should be just starting to shrink up exposing the ends of the bones. The meat should come away from the bone easily without disintegrating and being pasty.
Preheat a gas BBQ GRILL (not a hot plate). Once hot, baste the racks with more sauce and place on the grill over direct heat, meat side down at first. Allow to brown for about 3 or 4 minutes, do not touch or move during the first browning process. The sugars in the sauce will start to bubble and brown. Turn, baste and brown both sides, repeat this process three or four times or more, until you have a thick tacky caramelised coating and the rack is a rich mahogany colour.
Serve with fresh homemade coleslaw and homemade corn bread, and a bowl of QBBQ sauce on the side.
PS They say “The only problem with BBQ is that 2 or 3 days later you are hungy again.”