If you’re a cook wondering if you should have smoked that last batch of ribs over hickory and white oak instead of mesquite, skip this article.
Still reading? Then don’t say I didn’t warn you. The following is a no-smoke recipe for barbecued pork ribs that begins with simmering the ribs in dark beer and ginger ale and then finishing them in the oven.
Blasphemy, you say? Well, I’d bet you’d ask for seconds after finishing a slab of these babies. What’s with that red flush creeping up your collar? Now hold on a minute — don’t take offense. Because I do agree with you in concept: Authentic barbecue insists upon fire and smoke.
And I, like you, adore the texture, smoke and mouth-watering chew of ribs that have been lovingly tended to for hours in a wood burning pit. Indeed, I’ve penned hundreds of words rhapsodizing on the subject.
But what if you don’t have access to a pit? What if you don’t own a charcoal grill or smoker? Or what if you simply don’t have the time to fuss with hardwood and a fire for hours on end? Must you be denied a tender, sticky-sweet, fall-off-the-bone rack of ribs on the Fourth of July? The answer is a resounding no.
I present to you a democratic, all-American recipe that’s non-exclusive, so that everyone, including non-pit-masters, may enjoy ribs on the Fourth of July.
One of the glories of this simple recipe is that the sauce may be made up to 4 days in advance, and the ribs may be made the day prior to serving. Actually I prefer making them ahead. The tangy, sugar-bomb sauce with a prickle of heat permeates the meat, which is redolent with dark chocolate notes lent by the ale and piquant ginger from the soda.
After removing the ribs from the fridge, I let them come to room temperature. Before reheating, I brush a bit of extra sauce over them, then finish with a final char under the broiler or on a grill. (This step is not essential, but it could be staged to time when your guests arrive: Theatrically char them in a pyrotechnic charade of having spent hours behind the grill.)
This holiday, celebrate democracy with ribs for the people. Happy Fourth!
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