Spareribs are often more about quantity than about quality: “all you can eat” with cheap meat that gets all its flavor from aggressive spices and a lot of sauce. Not to mention that it is mostly fat and bone with hardly any meat.
But spareribs can also be meaty, tender, juicy, smoky, and taste of pork. There are a few steps involved to achieve this, but it is definitely worth it. The steps are:
- marinate with dry rub
- cook sous-vide
- finish on the grill (BBQ)
You only have to reduce the bag juices from the sous-vide cooking with some sieved tomatoes to get a wonderful smoky BBQ sauce.
I made them for a BBQ party and everybody liked them so much that they were all eaten before I managed to take a photo of what they looked like inside. So you’ll have to take my word for it: when you slice into these spareribs you will see lots of pink (but safe to eat!) and juicy meat.
For 3 kg (6.5 lbs) ribs
32 grams (4 1/4 tsp) fine table salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp New Mexico chile powder
For the BBQ sauce: 500 ml (2 cups) tomato puree (sieved tomatoes, passata)
Combine the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl, and stir to mix.
Apply the rub evenly on the ribs on all sides.
Allow them to marinate in the refrigerator overnight. I vacuum sealed them for this step because that way it is easier to put them in the refrigerator, but you could just put them on a dish and cover with plastic wrap.
The next day, take them out of the refrigerator (and out of the vacuum bag, if using) and pat the ribs dry with paper towels.
Prepare the grill for low temperature cooking with a lot of smoke. This means using a small amount of charcoal, just enough to keep it smoking for about an hour. You just want to smoke the ribs, not cook them, and the core temperature should definitely remain well below 55C/130F. For good measure I added a box with smoke chips.
Put the ribs on the grill, away from direct heat…
…and smoke them…
…for about 1 hour. This is not for cooking (and not for creating a crust or bark), just for flavor.
Allow the ribs to cool in the refrigerator and then vacuum seal them. Cook them sous-vide for 24 hours at 57C/135F.
Afterwards, open the bags and collect all the smoky juices in a pan. There is a lot of great flavor in these juices from the meat and spices.
Add the sieved tomatoes to the pan with the juices to make a quick and simple but very flavorful BBQ sauce.
Bring to a boil, stirring…
…and simmer until thickened to your liking. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Everything up to here can be prepared in advance. To finish the ribs, cook them on a hot charcoal grill until they are nicely browned and heated through, turning them often (as otherwise they will burn before they are heated through). To maintain the juiciness, keep the core temperature below 57C/135F. Serve with the BBQ sauce.
This is a traditional rendition of Spaghetti alla Carbonara. It is one of our favorite dishes that I make often because it is such great comfort food: filling and full of flavor. II use only the minimal ingredients (spaghetti, guanciale, eggs, pecorino, salt, black pepper) and ‘cook’ the eggs in the hot spaghetti in a serving bowl instead of in the pan.