Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cumin-Glazed Ribs with Avacado-Pineapple Salsa

I have always thought of Memorial Day as the day that kicks of grilling and Labor Day as the day that ends the grilling season.  I made these for the 4th of July weekend and every time my husband says the word grill I want them again... which is funny because now that I look back over the recipe there is very little grilling involved... which means that you can all have them for your Labor Day party, and I my friends... can have them ALL WINTER LONG if I want.  It's a win-win really... well for me for sure because I've had them but it's not too late for you.  I'll give you the recipe.  If you're nice.  And maybe beg a bit.

First procure yourself some yummy ribs.  The recipe calls for baby back ribs but I could only find spare ribs.  The guy at the store informed me that the difference was that spare ribs have less meat than baby back ribs which I believe is backwards but this is the same guy that told me skirt steak and flank steak are exactly the same cut of meat.  This is what you do for a living buddy.... gain some knowledge.  Just saying.  Mix up the spice rub and cover the rib racks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 10 hours.  I do not remember doing this.  It is possible that I skipped over it and just threw them in the fridge with the rub.  It's been known to happen.  Either way I let them sit in there for 4 hours as I was making them the day I wanted to serve them.

After they have marinated, you bake them (see below).  While baking them make your glaze/saucey stuff.  You will need some jalapenos...


some honey and other such ingredients.  Blend that stuff up and transfer to a pot.

Simmer over low heat until glossy and thickened.  The recipe says 15 but I think mine took closer to 30.  Here you raise the temperature of the oven and continue to cook the ribs after brushing them with the glaze.  Now the picture in the magazine shows them all reddish brown.  Mine got very dark very quickly so don't freak if you're are dark too.  They almost looked burnt but that is a common look for rubbed ribs in my experience.

While they are finishing up make the salsa.  You will want to do this on a grill pan or grill.  Grill the pineapple rings until charred.... mine were extremely juicy so I actually put them on a paper towel to soak up some of the extra juice, then set them in a bowl so I could scoop the fruit out and leave all the extra juice.  Then I worried that I needed the juice to marry the flavors so I added some back in but after looking at the photo again their salsa looks all fresh and not mushy which happens when you leave pineapple juice on anything so next time I will keep them separate and as dry as possible before adding them back in.  I also didn't bother to core them, I just grilled them then diced around the core to save time.

Cut up remaining ingredients for salsa and mix together.

Right before you serve them you want to either heat up the broiler or grill and heat them over high heat for about 5 minutes, then serve with the salsa.... mmmmmmmm.  I wish I had these in the fridge right now it is perfect weather out to have ribs tonight.

Cumin-Glazed Ribs with Avocado-Pineapple Salsa
Susan Feniger c/o Food and Wine June 2011


1/4 ancho chile powder
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 racks of baby back ribs (about 5 pounds)
4 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup honey
1 pound fresh pineapple rings, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup cilantro
1 large Hass avocado


In a small bowl, combine the ancho powder with 1/4 cup of the cumin, 2 tablespoons of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Set the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and rub all over with the spice mix.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 10 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Add 1/4 inch of water to the baking sheet and bake the ribs for 45 minutes, until barely tender.  Cover with foil and bake until tender, about 30 minutes longer.  Pour off the pan juices.

Meanwhile, in a blender, puree three-fourths of the jalapenos with the garlic and 1/2 cup of the lime juice.  Blend in the honey and remaining 1 tablespoon of cumin.  Transfer the glaze to a saucepan and simmer over low heat until glossy and thickened, 15 minutes.

Raise the oven temperature to 450.  Brush the ribs with half of the glaze.  Roast until well glazed, turning once, about 20 minutes.  Brush with the remaining glaze.

Light a grill or preheat the broiler.  Grill the pineapple rings over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes.  Finely dice the pineapple and transfer to a bowl.  Add the brown sugar, onion, cilantro, avocado and remaining jalapeno and 2 tablespoons of lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grill or broil the ribs over high heat, turning once, until caramelized, about 5 minutes.  Cut between the bones and serve with the salsa.

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