Kansas City-Style BBQ Ribs
There’s nothing better in the winter than a couple of slabs of ribs, hot and melting off the bone. Here’s the best recipe I know. These are slow-cooked Kansas City ribs, to die for… Do cook them slow. They are much better. I got this recipe from the folks at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ in Kansas City.
It’s pretty good!
Make this sauce:
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet (like Vidalia) onion, minced VERY fine
1-1/2 tsp. celery seeds, crushed with mortar and pestle or ground with a spice mill
3 garlic cloves, minced very fine
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 cups tomato ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar; more to taste
2 Tbs. prepared spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 Tbs. butter, cubed and chilled
Mix all ingredients except the butter. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Cover, set aside.
Second, make a dry spice rub, using the same dry ingredients as in the sauce, in the same amounts.
The night before, or first thing in the morning, rub the ribs (oh, you did that already…)
Cook the ribs in a charcoal kettle grill, with the coals stacked on the sides and a drip pan between the two piles of coals (do NOT use starter fluid on the coals). Fill the pan with a bottle of beer. Use only about ten charcoal briquets on each side, and give yourself plenty of time (hours). Make sure the coals are white before you start cooking. Once the coals are white, coat the grill with olive oil (cheap oil will do), and place the ribs over the drip pan. Monitor the progress of the ribs, adding two coals to each side every half hour, until you can stick a fork into the meat and withdraw it without lifting the meat off the grill. The ribs are not ready until then. At that point, add six coals to each side, flip the ribs and coat the underside with your sauce. Cook 1/2 hour. Flip the ribs again, coat the top side with more sauce and cook for another 1/2 hour. They are done. Let them rest fifteen minutes covered with foil off the grill, and serve.
If you can find an apple tree, cut a branch about 1 foot long and about 1 inch thick. A dead branch is better. (If all you can find is a green branch, forget this. I keep apple wood around for grill smoking). Chop it up into tiny little pieces. Soak the pieces in water and a little tequila for about an hour. Place a handful of the soaked apple chips on top of the coals–both sides–during the last hour, when the sauce is on the ribs. This will give you the smoky flavor you want, and apple is a little sweeter than hickory, which I personally find a bit bitter.