Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Back Ribs

A Labor of Love 

As the end of summer draws nigh, The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's staff determined to help our readers send it off with a succulent slab of ribs fit for a culinary finale to the summer of 2014. Baby back pork ribs are a meaty choice for a weekend BBQ. Follow the step-by-step instructions and you will be rewarded with sticky fingers and sloppy grins. For proof of satisfaction, scroll on down for a photo of our panel of taste testers thoroughly enjoying these Sweet Chili and Root Beer Baby Back Ribs! To start, let the ribs sit at room temperature for about 1 hour. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking over low (300°) heat. Let the fun begin!


In a medium bowl, mix the sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), root beer, and both chili sauces. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce for serving. Do not be tempted to substitute regular soy sauce for the sweet soy sauce - it is not the same!


Start by removing the silverskin. Silverskin is a tough, chewy membrane that holds the bones together. It takes a little effort to remove it, but it pays BIG dividends in appearance and ease of eating!


Start by inserting a blunt-nose butter knife under the silverskin. Gently wiggle the knife to loosen the silverskin. Make room to get your finger inside to gain hold to loosen the skin enough to get a good grip.


With the aid of a paper towel as a gripping agent, grasp the silverskin and tear it off completely. 


Sprinkle the meat side of the ribs with 2 teaspoons salt. One teaspoon per rack.


Arrange the ribs bone-side down in a single layer over the cool zone of the grill. Close the lid and cook the ribs until tender, about 2-2½ hours. 



The grill temperature should stay at a constant 300 degrees. To test if they’re done, insert a knife into the rib meat—if it slides out without pulling at the meat, they’re ready. The meat should be tender but not falling off the bone.


Increase the temperature of the indirect grill fire to 350°. Remove the ribs from the grill and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.



Brush the ribs on all sides with the remaining sauce.



Return the ribs to the cool zone of the grill and cook, turning once, until nicely lacquered, about 10 minutes total. If you like your ribs more browned and with a little char, place the racks over the direct heat for 3-4 minutes per side before removing from grill. Let the ribs rest, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving with the reserved sauce for dipping or for drizzling over the ribs.



Enjoy! It's a tough job testing the finished product, but somebody has to do it.


Sweet Chili and Root Beer Baby Back Ribs

2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 5-6 total), silverskin removed
Kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
1/4 cup root beer
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, preferably Mae Ploy brand
2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, preferably Sriracha


Let the ribs sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking over low (300°) heat.

Sprinkle the meat side of the ribs with 2 teaspoons salt. Arrange the ribs bone side down in a single layer over the cool zone of the grill. Close the lid and cook the ribs until tender, about 2-2½ hours. To test if they’re done, insert a knife into the rib meat—if it slides out without pulling at the meat, they’re ready. The meat should be tender but not falling off the bone. Remove the ribs from the grill and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.

Increase the temperature of the indirect grill fire to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix the sweet soy sauce, root beer, and both chili sauces. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce for serving. Brush the ribs on all sides with the remaining sauce. Return the ribs to the cool zone of the grill and cook, turning once, until nicely lacquered, about 10 minutes total. If you like your ribs more browned and with a little char, place the racks over the direct heat for 3-4 minutes per side before removing from grill.

Let the ribs rest, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving with the reserved sauce for dipping or for drizzling over the ribs.

Serves 4-6



Adapted slightly from Fine Cooking magazine

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