Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recipe thuRsday: Dr. Pepper Ribs

I can't even begin to claim this as one of my originals, but we have it so frequently now that some folks might be receiving some of my version of the DP sauce in their Christmas presents! The recipe for this came from my all time favorite food blogger, the Homesick Texan. Lisa is an expat Texan living in NYC and I think you'll feel right at home with all of her recipes.

My recipe varies in that I do not add any mustard thanks to my allergy to it, and I have been known to use whatever rib cuts are on sale instead of the St. Louis cut she favors. We feel that the Boston butt or Country Style cuts work really great with this too and are actually a bit superior. Wat really makes these ribs is the use of Dr. Pepper and chipotle powder for that ultimate sweet and spicy flavor combo--it's like eating candy. And in case you didn't know, chipotles are actually smoked jalapenos; you can typically find the powder in bulk food stores or through special order online. I get mine from my local HEB.

We typically plan this for a day that my husband has off so he can get it started and take it over to our friends home once the ribs are finished cooking in the oven; the Marino's provide the sides and the grill, we provide the ribs and dessert. There is nothing better than rib night, except maybe pork tenderloin night depending on who you ask :o)

Dr. Pepper Ribs
For the Rub:
1/4 ground black pepper
1/4 cup salt
1/4 brown sugar
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp allspice (or nutmeg if you lack allspice in the cupboard)

1. Combine the rub ingredients into a sandwich baggie and shake well to combine.
2. Pat all over your ribs in generous amounts and allow to sit for minimum of 4 hours before cooking.

NOTE: I typically buy anywhere from 6-7# of country style ribs and the rub makes enough to cover twice that. So make sure to store any unused rub in an airtight container lest you want your spice cupboard to reek of pepper every time you open it! You can also adjust the heat by adding less chipotle powder or pepper.

For the Sauce:
2 cups Dr. Pepper
1 cup ketchup (note: tomato paste works great here too if you don't have enough ketchup!)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP molasses
2-4 tsp of chipotle chili powder (easy does it here!)

1. Combine all of the sauce ingredients into one pot and bring to a boil.
2. Once it's at a good rolling boil, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, whisking occasionally.
3. When the sauce has thickened, you can take it off the heat and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before bottling.
4. Use to baste your ribs or other smoked meats. Yum!

NOTE: I have found it takes longer for the sauce to thicken if the DP is fresh and bubbly, so this is a great recipe to use with flat DP. I've also used Cherry Dr. Pepper for an even sweeter variation that went over very well. I have yet to obtain mass quantities of Dublin DP, but that would be even better...that'd be like top shelf sipping tequila!

For the ribs:
1/4 cup Dr. Pepper

1. Coat your ribs with the rub at least 4 hours prior to cooking. Allow them to come to room temp for about 30 minutes prior to cooking. (So 3.5 hours in the fridge, .5 hours out)
2. Preheat your oven to 250F. Line a large roasting pan with foil.
3. Arrange the ribs in the pan and pour the DP over the top. Cover the pan with foil and place it in the oven.
4. After 30 minutes, baste the ribs with the sauce and cover again.
5. After another 30 minutes (total cooking time is 1 hour at this point), flip them and baste again. Bake for at least another 30 minutes.
6. Once the ribs have been in the oven for an hour and a half, you can go two ways: a) you can grill those puppies for about 10-15 minutes over a grill OR b) you can turn the broiler on, remove the foil, spread on some more sauce and allow them to cook under the broiler until the sauce has caramelized (about 2-4 minutes each side). Option A is our preferred method of choice.
7. Remove from heat source and allow to rest for a couple of minutes. Pour the remaining sauce into a bowl, set the table, and belly on up to the table for some good eats!

NOTE: A word of warning here: Do NOT, I repeat, do not EVER reuse sauce that has touched raw meat. That is bad juju in the cooking world, so my advice is to separate out the sauce you'll need for the actual basting/glazing during cooking and the sauce you'll use for dipping when eating in order to avoid any unwanted guests. Coming from the woman who has the intestinal fortitude of a walnut, you'd best heed my advice on this. Plan on about 1/4 cup for each basting; you can always add more as needed or desired!

Bon apetit!

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