Monday, April 13, 2015

Half Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Jujube BBQ Sauce









     A Tasty BBQ Sauce Made With Korean Red Dates!
     Many BBQ joints and casual restaurants sell Baby Back Ribs that are imported from Finland.  These imported baby back ribs are just barely okay in quality.  The consistency of the product is not always up to American standards.  Overall, there is just not enough meat on the bones and the meat easily discolors.  Many of the bones are bare, so it is very easy to overcook skinny imported ribs.  It seems like pork rib production in Finland is based more on high production numbers and quality takes a back seat.

     In prime pig raising areas in America, local farmers focus on the quality of their pork product, rather than sheer numbers.  American pig farms do produce healthy big pigs.  The bigger the pig, the meatier the baby back ribs will be.
     Here in Las Vegas, a lot of the pork comes from Idaho.  All I can say is that Idaho pigs yield some of the best looking meaty baby back ribs that I have ever seen.  Obviously quality is more important than bottom line profits at Idaho pig farms.  
     The half rack of baby back ribs in the pictures above is a good example of Idaho pork that is raised with quality in mind.  As far as baby back rib size goes, these ribs were huge and the meat was thicker than most spare ribs!  There was enough intramuscular fat to keep the thick meat very moist and tender.  The Idaho baby back rib meat retained its natural reddish brown color.  The meat did not turn a grayish brown color, like the meat often does on ribs imported from Finland.       
     
     Jujube are Korean Red Dates.  Jujube are not sugary like desert palm dates.  Red Dates have a nice fruity flavor that tastes almost like a natural BBQ sauce.  The first time that I tasted Red Dates, BBQ sauce was my first thought!
     Korean Red Dates are dried and sold in Asian markets.  Red Dates are rock hard when dried, but they reconstitute quickly and become very tender.  It is best to select pitted dried Korean Red Dates, because removing the pits is not an easy task.  It is necessary to inspect the reconstituted Red Dates to make sure that no pieces of pits remain in the fruit, because the seed is tougher than nails. 

     Dry Rub Seasoning For Jujube BBQ Baby Back Ribs:  
     This recipe yields enough for 1 1/2 racks of baby back ribs.
     Place these spices and seasoning in a small mixing bowl:
     - 1/2 tablespoon of ground dried galangal (Thai Blue Ginger)
     - 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
     - 1/2 teaspoon of coriander 
     - 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
     - 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese chile powder
     - 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
     - 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika
     - 1/2 tablespoon of salt
     - 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
     Mix the ingredients together.

     Baby Back Ribs Preparation:
     A half rack is used as an example for todays recipe.  A Half Rack of Baby Backs is a barbecue restaurant lunch portion.
     The ribs can be slow roasted in an oven and they will turn out great.  The ribs can also be slow roasted in a smoker that is set to a temperature of 175ºF to 200ºF.  
     The BBQ Sauce can be made while the ribs slow roast. 
     Step 1:  Rub the ribs with a portion of the dry seasoning mixture. 
     Chill the ribs for 1 hour, so the spices set in.
     Step 2:  Place the ribs on a roasting pan with the inner rib side facing down.
     Roast the ribs in a 275ºF oven, till the ribs are fully cooked and tender.
     *Baby Back Ribs require about 1 1/2 hours of slow roasting.  The time depends on the thickness of the meat.  When fully cooked, the meat shrinks a little bit and the ends of the bones are exposed.  The meat should be easy to bite off of the bone, but the ribs should never be slow roasted for so long that the meat falls off of the bone.
     Keep the prepared ribs warm on a stove top.
    
     Jujube BBQ Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 2 cups of sauce or enough for 1 1/2 racks of baby back ribs.
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of Pitted Dried Korean Red Dates (Jujube) in a stainless steel sauce pot.
     Add 2 1/2 cups of water.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Simmer the red dates till they are very tender.
     Step 2:  Check the dates for seeds and return them to the liquid in the pot.
     Add 1/4 cup of organic ketchup.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of dijon mustard.
     Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of palm sugar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.  
     Add 1 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese red chile powder.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese Five Spice Powder. 
     Add sea salt to taste.  
     Step 4:  Gently simmer the sauce over low heat, till the spice flavors meld.  (About 5 minutes) 
     Step 5:  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the sauce to less than 100ºF.     
     Puree the sauce with a blending wand, blender or food processor.
     Step 6:  Return the puree sauce to a stainless steel sauce pot over low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Place the sauce in a container and set the sauce aside.

     Half Rack of Jujube BBQ Baby Back Ribs:
     These ribs can be finished indoors or outdoors!
     • Outdoor Cooking Method:  
     Step 1:  Heat a chargrill to a medium/medium hot temperature.
     Grill the prepared baby back ribs on both sides, till grill marks and caramelized highlights appear. appear.
     Step 2:  Move the ribs to a low temperature spot and start glazing the ribs with Jujube BBQ Sauce.     
     Continue brushing the ribs with sauce, till the sauce starts to caramelize and the sauce clings to the ribs.
      Brush the ribs with sauce one last time before serving.

     • Indoor Cooking Method:
     Step 1:  Heat a ribbed cast iron griddle to a medium/medium hot temperature.
     Grill the prepared baby back ribs on both sides, till grill marks and caramelized highlights appear. appear.
     Step 2:  Place the rack on a broiler pan.  
     Brush the ribs with the Jujube BBQ Sauce.  
     Roast the ribs in a 400ºF oven.  
     Brush the ribs with sauce occasionally, till the ribs are hot and the sauce clings to the ribs.  
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the oven.  
     Brush the ribs with sauce one last time.  
     Pass the ribs under a broiler set to the lowest temperature.  
     Broil till  the sauce starts to caramelize and the juices start to sputter.
     
     Half Rack Presentation:
     Step 1:  Place the finished Half Rack of Jujube BBQ Baby Back Ribs on a cutting board.
     Cut between each rib, but only through three quarters of the length of the rib, so the ribs are attached to each other on one side of the rack.
     Step 2:  Use a long spatula to place the ribs on a plate. 
     Spoon a little bit of the Jujube BBQ Sauce on the plate in front of the ribs. 
     Place a small ramekin of the Jujube BBQ sauce on the plate. 
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     Viola!  Lip smackin' tasty gourmet BBQ Baby Back Ribs! 

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