Serves 2 (half racks of ribs -about 5 to 6 pounds
For the Rub:
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seed
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp ground mustard (or, mustard seed)
1 Tbsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Barbecue Sauce:
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup deli mustard
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp sweet molasses (not blackstrap)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1. Place all of the dry rub ingredients (except the ribs) in a medium bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
2. Rinse the ribs and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the thin membrane attached to the underside of the ribs.
3. Evenly coat both sides of the ribs with a light layer of cooking spray. Add the spice rub, and work into the meat on top and bottom of the rack.
4. Place on a rimmed sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Marinate, refrigerated, for 2-24 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove ribs from refrigeration and allow to warm to room temperature while oven is preheating.
6. Cut a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil that is at least six inches longer than the ribs. Lay the ribs, bone side down, on the foil. Fold the ends in, over the ribs. Then bring the two sides up and together, folding, to create a tight seal.
7. Place the rack in the middle of the oven and cook, undisturbed for at least two and a half hours. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
Creating the Barbecue Sauce:
1. Place all of the ingredients, except the bourbon, in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently.
2. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, whisking occasionally, until the flavors have blended and the sauce has reduced to about 1 cup (about 30 minutes).
3. Add the bourbon; flambe (watch the eyebrows!), then stir in to mix. Simmer another 5 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to grill.
To Grill the Ribs:
1. Heat a grill or stove top griddle pan to medium high heat (400°F).
2. Remove the ribs from the foil, and cut into two half rack portions.
3. Place them meaty-side down on the grill, and brush them with some of the sauce. Meanwhile, you are getting nice grill marks on the meaty side. Cook about 3 minutes.
4. Flip the racks over and brush liberally with sauce, allowing it to build up with each new application. Spend about 5 minutes building up a thick glaze on top. (There will be smoke as the glaze drips onto the grill or griddle.
5. Loosely tent the ribs. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, leaving the tent in place for 10 more minutes.
6. Remove the tent, and serve. Transfer any unused barbecue sauce to a serving bowl and serve with the ribs.
This is a really tasty method to create a unique BBQ flavor. The dry rub and barbecue sauce work together to create a flavor much like an outdoor campfire style Kansas City sauce. The BBQ is wonderfully delightful before the bourbon is added, but has an additional pepper-caramel note after the flambe step. The sauce exchanges flavors with the dry rub during the tented process, and creates a flavor that is better than either one by itself.