Last year, I blogged these ribs as the best ever. Better than any I had sampled at restaurants — and I’ve spent a lot of time in Texas, folks — and better than any other from a cookbook. I know that “best” is an overused superlative. I know. But I do mean it. If you want to have ribs for your Super Sunday, then I cannot recommend anything better.
Ah, one minor complication. During the Super Bowl, many of us watch the game and the commercials. There is never, never time for a bio break, let alone time to go wash goo off your hands. So, if you are going to have these ribs in front of your TV, some paper towels and hand wipes are a necessity. Not a big necessity, because you will have been licking your fingers to enjoy every last drop of sauce.
You are, of course, free to add to or modify the ingredients, but here I actually suggest you follow the recipe. The rub and the sauce clearly reflect great experimentation to hone on superior flavor. In the case, the experiment is a success.
Mr. Piggy’s Revenge: Grilled Chipolte Baby Back Ribs
Yield: serves 4 to 6
For the rub:
- ¼ cup white cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons seasoned salt
- 1 tablespoon onion salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile
For the ribs:
- 2 slabs baby back ribs
For the sauce:
- ½ cup tomato-based barbecue sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons orange marmalade
- 1 ½ tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- ¼ cup water
Heat a cooker to medium to medium-high.
Combine all the ingredients for the rub n a small bowl and blend well. Season the ribs all over with rub.
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Oil the grate and place the ribs on it bone side down over direct heat. Cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until pull-apart ender, turning every 5 to 7 minutes and glazing with the sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and let them rest, covered loosely with aluminum foil, for 10 to 15 minutes. While the ribs are resting, boil the remaining sauce for 1 to 2 minutes, if desired, before serving with the ribs
Source: America’s Best Ribs by Ardie Davis and Chef Paul Kirk
In the coming weeks, leading up to the Super Bowl, there will be chips and salsa aplenty. You can treat yourself, and any family or friends, to a salsa combination you almost surely have never had before. Here pecans and chipotles merge for a slow-building heat. This recipe, from Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales by Roberto Santibanez, is said to be ideal for tacos or simple tortas. I think it’s a great chips salsa because of the surprising flavor combination. You’ll dip that chip, have it snap in your mouth, and then wonder just what it is that is now filling your mouth with such substance.
The recipe calls for chipotle mora chiles, pictured above. They are small and purple-red in color. You should be able to find them in a Mexican market. Of course, your chili of choice can be substituted to give you a different flavor experience. If you are Googling, you’ll see some different discussions about chipotles, moras, and chipotle moras. If possible get some professional assistance. The color is the key.
You can make this salsa up to 5 days in advance, refrigerate, and then bring to room temperature before serving.
Yield: 1 cup
- 3 dried chipotle mora chiles [small, purplish-red], whipped clean and stemmed
- ½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- ½ cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat a dry small pan over medium-low heat and toast the chiles, turning them over occasionally, until they have puffed up and blistered in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer them to a blender along with ½ cup of water.
Preheat the oven to 350⁰F and toast the pecans in one layer on a baking sheet, shaking once or twice, until they are two shades darker and very fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer them to a blender. Blend the mixture to form a slightly chunky puree, gradually adding more water if necessary to blend.
Wipe the small pan clean, add the oil and set the pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and garlic and cook just until the onion is translucent and soft, about 2 minutes. Add the blended mixture to the pan, then pour 1 tablespoon of water into the blender to loosen the remaining puree and pour it into the pan.
Add the salt and let the mixture come to a strong simmer, stirring constantly, then turn off the heat. Let the salsa cool, then season it to taste with more salt.
Source: Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales by Roberto Santibanez