BROTHER BRIAN’S BBQ RIBS
Brian maybe gone from the restaurant’s kitchen but his legendary recipe for BBQ ribs, which have been known to have grown men licking their fingers in public, stays with us. They are so moist, with meat that just falls from the bone. It’s one of those dishes where you may not get the timing quite right when you first cook them, but you shouldn’t give up. The next time, leave them in longer or, if they have cooked too quickly, take them out sooner. You’ll get to know.
2.5kg ribs (I prefer pork but a lot of people like beef; the choice is yours) 300ml water or stock
Wash the ribs and pat them dry. You need to decide if you want to cut them into smaller portions or leave as a rack or half rack. I always cut them by counting 3 bones along, which makes a nice portion size, or you could cut them with 2 bones in, which is ideal for buffets and childrens’ portions. Put them in a dish, pour the marinade over and, if possible, leave them in the fridge to marinate overnight. If you are in a hurry, try to marinate them for at least an hour. Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce. Combine all the ingredients except the bottled sauce in a pan and bring to the boil, then add the bottled sauce, if using. Simmer over a low heat until the mixture has reduced by half; this can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour. It should be fairly thick, but still pourable. Remove from the heat and, when it has cooled down a little so you won’t burn yourself, blend with a hand-held electric blender. The sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
To cook the ribs, pour off the excess marinade (you can keep this, covered, in the fridge for up to a week – you never know, after cooking one batch of ribs you may be forced by the family to cook up another within days). Heat a ridged griddle pan over a high heat and place the ribs on it to seal them. They should sizzle, and the sugar in the marinade should also make them smoke. (When Brian is cooking his ribs, I sometimes have to remind him that he’s not cooking outside back home. He just flashes me that smile of his and says ‘Ah, Chef, you know they need the smoke, dat’s what makes them good’. I smile back and leave him to it, because when I say his ribs are good, I mean they are real good!) Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, then transfer to a baking tray. Take 100ml of the marinade and mix it with the water or stock. Stir together and drizzle it over the ribs, holding back a little. Place in an oven preheated to 160C/Gas Mark 3 and cook for 1 hour. The ribs will release their own juices but if they begin to dry out, add the reserved diluted marinade. After an hour, top with the barbecue sauce and turn the heat up to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until the meat begins to fall from the bones. Let’s imagine it’s a hot summer’s day, though, and friends have just turned up. Why not take those ribs outside and throw them onto the grill? All you need to do is take them out of the oven after the first hour’s cooking, place them on a hot grill and brush some of the barbecue sauce over them. Cook for about 5 minutes, then turn the ribs over and cook the other side with the sauce. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until they are cooked through and the meat is starting to fall from the bone. If you are an experienced barbecue cook, then you could start with the raw marinated ribs. Just don’t add the sauce until the ribs are nearly cooked – you’ll only burn it away of you put it on too soon.