My list of rib variations is so long that it may call for a "rib week," similar to "wing week" back in February. One rack that I've always wanted to try since seeing Mike Lang's recipe on his excellent blog Another Pint Please were these herb-encrusted loin back ribs.
They're given a coating of a herb mixture that includes basil, parsley, thyme, and oregano to start. Then, forgoing the usually smoked treatment, these are still done low-and-slow but on a rotisserie on the grill. It takes about three hours for them to achieve perfect tenderness, and in the last half hour they're basted in a garlic and basil-infused olive oil.
Man, these looks so good coming off the spit. They were definitely different in looks from barbecued ribs, but were really worlds apart in taste. Without smoke, the pork had a very mild flavor that let the subtleties of each herb come through. They were juicy and tender with just the right pull off the bone, but for such a barbecue freak as myself, they were lacking just something a little extra.
Since I really loved the herb rub, I'll probably keep that in tact if I made these again, but try adding just a chunk or two of a light smoking wood–like apple or cherry–to give a little more flavor to the meat without overdoing it, and then I think they'd really be outstanding.
- 1 rack of baby back ribs, trimmed of excess fat and back membrane removed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup basil & garlic infused olive oil
- Type of fire: three-zone split
- Grill heat: low
In a small bowl, mix together basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley. Set aside.
Liberally salt and pepper the front and back of the ribs. Sprinkle the herb mixture over both sides of the ribs, pressing the herbs into the meat with your fingertips.
Light one chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals in two piles on either side of the charcoal grate. Cover grill, close air vents and let temperature drop to 250 degrees. Thread ribs onto rotisserie spit, securing each end with rotisserie tines. Place spit on the grill, cover, open the air vents, and cook ribs until the meat starts to pull away from the end of the bone, about 3 hours, replenishing the fire with 10 lit coals on each pile half way through cooking to keep the temperature at 250 degrees.
Approximately 30 minutes before the ribs are done, baste the rack once with basil and garlic infused olive oil.
Remove spit from the grill and allow ribs to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove ribs from spit, slice, and serve immediately.