Stick to these ribs
A barbecue secret -- and a really easy pie -- for Father's Day.
This Father's Day, show Dad some barbecue love with tender, meaty ribs deeply infused with spice and smoke and slathered with a sweet-tangy-hot barbecue sauce. Purists may call it cheating, but a little oven time streamlines the cooking and guarantees super-tender, moist meat, so I'm willing to take the heat. Round out Dad's menu with traditional barbecue sides like corn bread, baked beans, or coleslaw, and end up with an easy, almost-no-bake mango lime pie that makes a great dessert.
Baby Back Ribs Serves 4
2 cups wood chips for smoking
1/3cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
2 racks baby back ribs (about 2½ pounds each)
for the sauce
½ medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon finely grated zest and ½ cup juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 tablespoons chopped chipotles en adobo, or to taste
1 14½-ounce can tomato sauce
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground allspice
An hour before cooking, soak the wood chips in water to cover. In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, 1½ tablespoons salt, and 2 tablespoons pepper. Dust the ribs evenly with the spice mixture, and rub it in. (Ribs can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Start a fire in a charcoal grill, leaving bottom vents open. When coals are covered with gray ash, push them to one side of grill. Place the soaked wood chips directly on the charcoal, set the grate in place, cover, and let the grill heat for 5 minutes. For a gas grill, put the soaked wood chips in a small aluminum tray and place it on the primary burner, directly over the flame. Turn all burners to high, close the lid, and heat for 15 minutes. Then turn off all the burners except for the primary and adjust the flame to maintain grill temperature at 250 to 300 degrees.
Place the ribs on the cool side of the grill, positioning them to minimize overlap, close the cover (for charcoal grill, make sure the cover vents are halfway open and positioned over the ribs), and barbecue until the ribs are deep red and the meat has shrunk away from the ends of the bones, about 1½ hours, flipping and rotating the ribs once midway through cooking.
To make the sauce: In a food processor, process the onion, garlic, lime zest, chipotles, and ½ cup water. Strain the mixture into a medium saucepan, discarding the solids. Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, molasses, cumin, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and lime juice and whisk to combine. Place the pan over medium-high heat and, stirring frequently, bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes (you should have about 2½ cups).
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Brush about ¼ cup sauce over the ribs, cover, and continue barbecuing until the sauce dries out a little, about 15 minutes. Flip the ribs, brush about ¼ cup sauce over each rack, cover, and continue barbecuing until the second application of sauce dries out a little, about 15 minutes. Remove the ribs from the grill, wrap them tightly in foil, place them on a large rimmed baking sheet, and bake until tender, about 1½ hours. Rest the ribs for 10 minutes, unwrap, cut, and serve, passing remaining sauce at the table.
Mango Lime Pie with Coconut Graham Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie
9 graham crackers, broken into rough pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm
¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup sugar
2½ teaspoons finely grated zest and 6 tablespoons juice from 2 limes
1½ teaspoons finely grated zest and 1/3 cup juice from 1 large orange
4 large ripe medium mangoes, peeled, and flesh from 3 mangoes cut into chunks (about 3 cups) and flesh from 4th mango cut into neat, thin slices
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream, for serving
Adjust the oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, process graham crackers until finely and evenly ground, about 15 seconds. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and a tiny pinch of salt and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly add the melted butter and process until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 20 seconds. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, add the coconut, and mix together with your hands. Press the mixture across the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until the crust is fragrant and the color deepens, about 15 minutes, rotating the pie plate about halfway through the baking time. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
In a medium nonreactive saucepan, stir the ¾ cup of sugar, the lime zest, and orange zest together until sugar is moist and fragrant. In a food processor, puree the mango chunks until very smooth, about 40 seconds (you should have about 2½ cups) and add to the pan with the sugar. In a small bowl, whisk the orange juice and cornstarch until smooth, then add the orange juice mixture and a tiny pinch of salt to the mango-sugar mixture and whisk to combine.
Place the pan over medium heat, and, stirring constantly, heat the mixture until it begins to steam and just barely bubble. Cook, continuing to stir constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick pudding, about 10 minutes. Off heat, add the vanilla and lime juice to the mixture, stir to combine, and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Pour the cooled mango mixture into the pie shell, gently smooth the top, and arrange the mango slices over the filling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled and the filling is firm, about 4 hours. Cut the pie into slices and serve with whipped cream.
Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at email@example.com.