BBQ Recipe: Atomic Ribs and Sauce

For 4 to 6 people

To note: St. Louis ribs are easier to manage than untrimmed pork ribs. If using ribs, reduce the baking time (step 6) to 1 to 2 hours. To remove the membrane from the ribs, use a paring knife to loosen one end, then grab the membrane with a paper towel and pull it out in one piece.


¼ cup finely chopped sliced ​​marinated banana peppers, plus 2 tablespoons pickling liquid

¼ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup yellow mustard

4 green onions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons of dry mustard

2 tablespoons of chili sauce

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 habanero peppers, hulled and thinly sliced ​​(for less heat, use 1 pepper, seeds and ribs removed)

Salt and pepper


3 tablespoons of paprika

2 tablespoons of chili powder

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons of pepper

1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

2 (2½ to 3 pounds) full pork ribs, trimmed and membrane removed

2 cups of wood chips

For the sauce

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.)

The recipe for Atomic Sauce – perfect with St. Louis-style baby back ribs – comes from America’s Test Kitchen “Master of the Grill”. (Dai Sugano / Bay Area News Group)

For the ribs

  1. In a bowl, combine the paprika, chili powder, sugar, pepper, salt and cayenne pepper. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and rub them evenly with the spice blend. Wrap ribs in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. (If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before grilling.)
  2. Just before grilling, soak the wood chips in water for 15 minutes, then drain. Use a large piece of heavy-duty foil to wrap the chips in an 8-by-4½-inch foil package. (Make sure the chips do not puncture the sides or bottom of the package.) Cut 2 2-inch slits evenly spaced across the top of the package.
  3. For a charcoal barbecue, open the lower vent halfway. Fill a large fireplace starter three-quarters full with charcoal briquettes. Turn it on. When the upper coals are partially covered with ash, pour the briquettes into a steeply sloping pile against the side of the grill. Place the bundle of wood chips on the embers. Put the cooking grid in place, cover and open the lid vent halfway. Heat grill until heated through and wood chips are smoking, about 5 minutes.
  4. For a gas grill, remove the cooking grid and place the bundle of wood chips directly on the main burner. Put the cooking grid in place, turn all burners to high power, cover and heat the grill until the wood chips are hot and smoking, about 15 minutes. Turn the main burner to medium-high and turn off the other burner (s). Adjust the main burner as needed to keep the grill temperature around 325 degrees.
  5. Clean and oil the cooking grid. Unwrap the ribs. Place ribs, meaty side down, on colder side of grill; the ribs may overlap slightly. Cover (place the lid on the meat if using charcoal) and cook until the ribs are dark red and smoky, about 2 hours, turning and turning the grates halfway through cooking. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, set the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 250 degrees.
  6. Remove ribs from grill and wrap tightly in foil. Arrange the ribs wrapped in foil on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender; a fork inserted in the ribs must not meet any resistance, 1h30 to 2h30.
  7. Remove the ribs from the oven and let stand, still wrapped, for 30 minutes. Unwrap the ribs and brush with half the sauce. Slice the ribs between the bones and serve with the rest of the sauce.
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