There’s a fine line between good and bad baby back pork ribs. When it comes to bad ribs, one of the biggest mistakes people make is to boil the meat first. All this does is boil away the flavor.
I got a taste of some pretty good baby backs Friday night at the new Whitey’s in East Grand Forks. The meat was fall-off-the-bone. Along with some nice au gratin potatoes (the portion was a bit small), it made for a real tasty meal. The dinner was my first at the recently opened restaurant under new management, and I came away impressed.
Speaking of baby back pork ribs, here’s a recipe I came across recently that readers who still are grilling might find interesting.
Spicy Baby Back Ribs with Orange Glaze
MARINADE AND GLAZE;
1½ cups orange or tangerine juice
½ cup Asian-style sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon chipotle chili flakes
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 slabs (2 pounds each) baby back ribs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
In a glass measure, combine all the marinade ingredients. Remove half of the marinade and set it aside in the refrigerator. Place the ribs in a sealable plastic bag. You can fold them or cut them in half to fit better. Pour the marinade over the ribs. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat or prepare the grill for indirect heat over low to low-medium heat. The heat should be at a constant 250 to 275 degrees with the heat source at one side of the grill.
Remove the ribs from the marinade (discard the marinade) and let the ribs sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
Brush the cooking grates clean and oil them. Place the ribs, meaty side up, on the grill away from the heat source. Close the lid and grill for about 2 hours (for whole racks). Check periodically that the heat is not getting too high.
Meanwhile, place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Whisk in the Dijon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until it’s slightly reduced and has a glaze consistency.
Check the ribs for doneness. The bones should start pulling away from the meat and the meat should be tender, but still hold together.
Brush the ribs with the glaze and close the lid. Continue cooking another 10 minutes or until the glaze sets in. Glaze the ribs several times this way. Remove from the grill and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve with additional glaze if desired.
Note: You can adjust this marinade to your liking, adding more chili sauce and chipotle flakes for a more pronounced spicy kick.
Yield: Serves 4 (generously).
Approximate nutritional analysis per 6½ ounces of rib meat: 529 calories, 63 percent of calories from fat , 37 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 18 grams carbohydrates, 27 grams protein, 1,217 milligrams sodium, 132 milligrams cholesterol, no fiber.