One of the biggest grilling weekends is upon us, and if you want to declare your independence from the usual burgers and brats, these savory ribs with a hint of sweet are sure to impress.
Meat expert and author of the Great Meat Cookbook, Bruce Aidells, who contributed this recipe to Real Food, says he has a good friend who lives in Fredericksburg in the heart of Texas Hill Country who inspired him with peach jam. “Every Christmas, she sends me a jar of her peach jam. It is one of my most cherished gifts. I try to ration it, but somehow it never lasts more than a few weeks. One year, the remains of a jar got lost in my refrigerator, and I found it in summertime. I decided to turn it into a glaze for another Texas barbecue favorite: beef ribs.”
Beef ribs are the back ribs trimmed from the standing rib roast. They are relatively tender, somewhat fatty, and utterly delicious. Although beef brisket is king in Texas, most barbecue joints serve the ever-popular rib bones as well. It is best to cook the ribs over indirect heat so they can cook slowly, render off fat, and become tender and succulent, notes Aidells. The glaze is applied at the end to give the ribs a wonderful sweet coating. If you can’t find peach jam, apricot works well.
It is very important that meat be allowed to rest after being removed from the heat source, says Aidells. Two things happen: Juices are reabsorbed from the surface to the interior, and the carry-over heat causes the internal temperature to rise 5 to 20 degrees.
Serve these ribs with a crisp, sweet Riesling from Texas or Germany. They are also good with a malty ale, such as Fat Tire. Classic side dishes that work well—coleslaw and Boston baked beans. You’ll want to plan ahead: Overnight prep/marinating is recommended.
Texas Beef Ribs with Hill Country Peach Glaze
Makes 4 servings
4 to 5 pounds beef rib bones (also called prime-rib bone or beef rib back bones), trimmed of external fat
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. peanut oil
1 c. finely chopped white onion
1⁄4 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
3⁄4 c. peach jam
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
For the rub: Combine ingredients and sprinkle generously over ribs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
For the glaze: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes, until soft. Whisk in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 to 5 minutes, until thick and syrupy. Set aside. Glaze can be made 2 to 3 weeks ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. Reheat before using. If necessary, add a few drops water or orange juice to thin.
Set up a grill for indirect cooking. For charcoal, place coals on half of a covered grill and heat until medium-high heat. For gas, preheat grill by turning all burners on high heat; when hot, turn off middle section.
Keeping spice coating intact, lay ribs directly over heat. Sear 2 to 3 minutes on both sides, taking care not to burn. Transfer to unlit area of grill. Cover and grill roast at medium heat (around 350°F) 45 to 60 minutes, until tender (cut off a taste to test). Remove from grill.
Adjust grill to medium-high heat. If using charcoal, add more coals if necessary to create a medium-hot fire covering 3⁄4 of grill, leaving an area without coals. Brush meaty side of ribs with glaze and set over fire. Grill 2 to 3 minutes, taking care not to burn. If they begin to flame, transfer to unlit area of grill and wait until flames subside (if using a gas grill, lower heat).
When shiny and bubbly with a few black specks, brush bone side of ribs with glaze, flip, and grill 1 to 2 minutes, until shiny and bubbly. Arrange ribs on a platter and brush with glaze. Rest meat 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 608 (260 From Fat); Fat 29g (Sat. 10g); Chol 117mg; Sodium 2955mg; Carb 53g; Fiber 4g; Protein 34g