Three years ago I came up with a formula for a spice rub that I affectionately call Sweet Heat. I’ve used it here on the blog, and the recipe is in my new cookbook. So, I’ve started experimenting with different applications for the spice that have resulted in dramatic results. This dish — Cajun Country-Style Ribs — is one that I want to share with you today.
These ribs are bathed in flavor; to be exact, they’re rubbed, marinated, charred, baked, braised, glazed, and grilled. These fall-off-the-bone ribs are the best of all worlds.
Before we get started, here’s the big question: What exactly are country-style ribs? Well, they aren’t ribs at all; they are more like a pork chop than a true rib. If you buy the bone-in country-style ribs, you are getting the blade end of the loin close to the pork shoulder that contains no rib bones, but rather bony parts of the shoulder blade. If you buy the boneless country-style rib, you are getting the pork shoulder (butt) cut into thick individually portioned slabs. So, don’t confuse country-style “ribs” with a baby back rib or sparerib cut from the ribcage of the pig. That said, country-style ribs are tasty and with this Cajun Country-Style Ribs recipe, cook up fork-tender delicious.
My Sweet Heat spice rub is just one of the keys to this recipe. It’s a versatile spice that balances flavors that work well with meat (pork, especially) and vegetables (glazed carrots are spectacular) alike.
Follow this easy recipe and see just how good ribs can be when cooked Cajun country-style.
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon. cayenne
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- ½ cup sugarcane molasses
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup bourbon
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 6 pounds bone-in loin country-style ribs (about 12 ribs)
- 1 cup Sweet Heat spice rub, see recipe
- 1 cup diced onion
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 bottles beer
- 1 cup Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, see recipe
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all spice ingredients together and place in an airtight jar.
- In a medium pot, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let cook until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Let cool and store in an empty bourbon bottle or an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 months.
- In a large ovenproof baking dish lined with foil, add the ribs. Sprinkle liberally with spice rub on all sides to coat. Cover with foil and refrigerate to let marinate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Preheat a gas grill on high.
- Add the marinated ribs on the grill grates closest to the heat and char-grill on all sides creating a sealed exterior crust, about 8 minutes. Remove from the grill before the ribs are cooked through.
- Place the ribs back into the baking dish and add the vegetables. Pour the beer over the ribs until covered halfway. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven to bake for 2 hours.
- Remove the cooked ribs and gently--using a spatula-- place them back onto the hot grill and brush with the barbecue sauce. Cook until the sauce sets and just begins to blacken, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
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