Steven Raichlen is known as a master of the smoker and grill but he's also a mean cook in the kitchen as evidenced by his latest cookbook Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys (Workman Publishing Co. 2015).
In it, Raichlen offers up kitchen tips and techniques that every man should know such as how to slice, dice, and chop properly; the secrets to trussing a chicken or opening an oyster; and the importance of mise en place (the advance prep of ingredients) as well as over 300 recipes that range from fire-eater wings to ice cream floats for grown-ups.
But while many of the recipes are prepared in the kitchen, Raichlen knows how much guys love playing with smoke and flames so he also offers up several BBQ and grilling recipes including this one for over-the-top Smoked Babyback RIbs with Cider Rum BBQ Sauce!
BABY BACK RIBS WITH CIDER RUM BARBECUE SAUCE
"These ribs sound an apple theme—you smoke them with apple wood chips and serve them with a made-from-scratch cider rum barbecue sauce. Once you master the process, you can infinitely vary the character of the ribs by changing the seasonings. Texas style? Use a rub based on cumin and chile powder and spray the ribs with beer. Jamaican style? Use jerk seasoning and spray the ribs with pineapple juice. You get the idea." - Steven Raichlen
2 racks baby back pork ribs (4 to 5 pounds total)
6 tablespoons Raichlen’s Rub #1 (recipe follows) or your favorite barbecue rub
1 cup apple cider in a spray bottle
Cider Rum Barbecue Sauce (page 286) or your favorite barbecue sauce
You’ll also need: 1.5 cups hardwood chips or chunks, preferably apple or hickory, soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drained
Set up the grill for indirect grilling. Place a large aluminum foil drip pan in
the center of the grill under the grate, and preheat the grill to medium (325°F).
Place a rack of ribs meat side down on a baking sheet. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of the rack by inserting a slender implement, such as the tip of an instant-read thermometer, under it; the best place to start is on one of the middle bones.
Using a dishcloth, paper towel, or pliers to gain a secure grip, peel off the membrane. Repeat with the remaining rack (or ask your butcher to do it).
Season the ribs with barbecue rub (about 1.5 tablespoons per side), rubbing the spices onto the meat with your fingertips.
When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the ribs, bone side down, in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat. (If your grill has limited space, stand the racks of ribs upright in a rib rack.)
Toss the wood chips on the coals. Cover the grill and cook the ribs for about 45 minutes.
Spray the ribs with some of the apple cider. This keeps them moist and adds an extra layer of flavor. Cover the grill again and continue cooking the ribs until they are darkly browned, cooked through, and tender enough to pull apart with your fingers, 45 minutes to 1 hour longer, 11/4 to 11/2 hours in all, spraying the ribs with cider once or twice more. When the ribs are cooked, the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
If you are using a charcoal grill, replenish the coals after 1 hour or as needed.
Just before serving, brush the ribs on both sides with about 1/2 cup of the Cider Rum Barbecue Sauce or the barbecue sauce of your choice. Move the ribs directly over the fire. Grill the ribs until the barbecue sauce is browned and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the ribs to a large platter or cutting board. Let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the racks in half or into individual ribs. Serve the ribs at once with the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.
RAICHLEN'S RUB #1
2 tablespoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard, preferably Colman’s
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
Place the salt, brown sugar, paprika, pepper, dry mustard, onion powder, and celery seeds in a small bowl and mix with your fingers, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar or onion powder. Stored in an airtight jar away from heat and light, the rub will keep for several months.
CIDER RUM BARBECUE SAUCE
1 cup apple cider
about 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
2 cups ketchup (I like Heinz)
1/2 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark rum, or more to taste
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or more to taste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place the cider, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large heavy saucepan and let come to a boil over high heat. Let the cider mixture boil until reduced by about half, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the ketchup, brown sugar, rum, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, onion powder, pepper, and cinnamon and whisk to mix. Reduce the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer until thick and flavorful, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning, adding more rum and/or mustard as necessary. Transfer the sauce to a bowl or clean jars and let it cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the sauce until serving. It will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. Reheat it over low heat before using.
Recipe courtesy of Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen, Workman Publishing Co.