Monday, September 6, 2010

Grill Master

This here is my little grill. I've had it for over ten years and it's beginning to show its age. For one thing, it's become bowlegged. But I'm fond of it anyway, and I've been grilling up a storm this summer. I'm something of a grill master.

I don't know why people assume that grilling is for men. I love grilling. I've always grilled with charcoal, and I love lighting up a match and watching the lighter fluid flame up. Then I'll watch the flames dance in the bowl of the grill, until they slowly die down into a white ashy coating on the charcoal. I love that smell, the anticipation of a good, hot grill.

You can't be a grill master until you've made ribs. They are succulent, salty and sweet all at once. They are sticky and saucy and spicy. They are that naughty best friend you had growing up, the one who was trouble, but too much fun to stay away from.

Ribs were made to be grilled, so all that fat crisps up and they take on the smokiness of the charcoal. Most recipes call for the ribs to be boiled first, but here I've adapted an oven baked recipe to be finished on the grill. Start off by rubbing the ribs with a fragrant spice rub. Pop them in the oven for 75 minutes while you make the sauce and get the grill ready. Spread the hot coals in a single layer so you can cook all the ribs evenly. Then baste the ribs with the sauce and throw them on the grill. Five minutes per side should do it. Look at that, you're a grill master!

Spicy Chipotle Ribs (Gourmet)

Spice rub ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (2-lb) racks baby back ribs
Sauce ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (from 1 large)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to to 350°F. Whisk together brown sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl. Line a 17- by 12- by 1-inch heavy-duty baking pan with a double layer of foil, then oil foil. Pat ribs dry and arrange in baking pan. Rub ribs all over with spice mixture. Cover pan tightly with foil; bake 1 1/4 hours. Remove foil.

Make sauce while ribs bake:

Cook onion, garlic, and ginger in oil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Purée sauce in 2 or 3 batches in a blender until smooth, or with a hand immersion blender (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Prepare grill. Remove ribs from oven and baste with sauce. Transfer to grill and grill for 5 - 6 minutes. Turn and baste again, grilling for another 5 - 6 minutes.

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