I've never been a fan of boiling ribs—I don't like skimming that 'surface foam.' Besides, I think baking them works better.
This dish employs the same technique as my baked Sriracha ribs, but with very different results. First, the ribs are cooked slow and low. Then, they're steeped in citrus and beer, while a lively, Cuban mojo-inspired barbecue sauce simmers on the stovetop.
Because grilling season is upon us, I've taken the final step—glazing the ribs—outdoors. Feel free to finish your rack in a 375°F oven for about 15 minutes, if you prefer.
Note: For a side, I'd recommend crushed Cuban potatoes. First, boil them until tender. Then, drizzle olive oil on the potatoes, season them generously with salt and pepper and bash—but don't mash—them. Finally, crisp the potatoes in a high temperature oven with shards of onion. Add a final shower of with parsley, and they're good to go.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 40 minutes
- Total time:3 1/2 hours
- For the Ribs:
- 2 racks of baby back ribs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle of light-flavored beer
- For the Sauce:
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup sour orange juice or orange juice
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 7 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red or white onion
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275°F. Place ribs on a large, foil-lined baking sheet and season all over with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to roast until fat is beginning to render and ribs are softened, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Meanwhile, lay two 12- by 24-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil out on the countertop and fold their edges tightly together to form one large sheet.
Remove ribs from the oven and set them on top of the foil. Return them to the rimmed baking sheet with the foil. Pour orange juice and beer on top of the ribs, then fold up foil and seal tightly to create an enclosed package. Return to oven and continue cooking until ribs are completely tender, about 1 hour longer.
While the ribs are cooking, prepare the sauce by combining ketchup, tomato paste, orange juice, lime juice, honey, cumin, garlic, cilantro, parsley, oregano, and onion in a food processor and blending until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring periodically, until slightly thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Reserve.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of coal grate, leaving an area without direct heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
Remove ribs from oven. Discard liquid, and generously brush ribs with sauce. Transfer to the grill and cook until burnished and sticky, 15 to 20 minutes longer, flipping half-way through.
Remove from the grill and serve with extra sauce and a side, such as crushed Cuban potatoes.