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PEANUT BUTTER RIBS
A while ago, we ran a Lip-smackin' Rib Recipe Contest. Call it the Elvis factor: A surprisingly large number of people submitted rib recipes that called for peanut butter. The notion is not as strange (or off-putting) as it might initially seem; pork is often paired with peanut sauce in Southeast Asia. This recipe emphasizes the savory, not sweet, qualities of peanut butter, thanks to the addition of garlic, ginger, and soy sauce for a sauce that doubles as a marinade. It was inspired by a recipe form one of our contest runners-up, Renata Stanko. I've tinkered with the recipe a little (I always tinker with recipes a little), but I think you'll find it spot-on.
Method: Indirect grilling
Advance Prep: At least 4 hours for marinating the ribs
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1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon Thai chile garlic sauce, such as Sriracha, or 1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed and minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 racks baby back pork ribs (4 to 5 pounds total)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
|1.||Place the peanut butter, chicken stock,
coconut milk, soy sauce, lime juice, chile garlic sauce, ginger, garlic, scallion, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
in a large heavy non-reactive saucepan. Gradually bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat, whisking to mix. Reduce
the heat slightly and let the sauce simmer gently until thick and richly flavored, 10 to 15 minutes, whisking to mix.
Remove the pan from the heat and taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce, lime juice, and/or pepper as necessary.
Let the sauce cool completely.|
|2.||Prepare the ribs:
Place a rack of ribs meat side down on a work surface. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of the rack by
inserting a slender implement, such as a butter knife or the tip of a meat thermometer, under it. The best place to
start is on one of the middle bones. Using a dishcloth, paper towel, or pliers to gain a secure grip, peel off the
membrane. Repeat with the remaining rack.|
ribs in a non-reactive roasting pan or baking dish just large enough to hold them and season them on both sides with
garlic powder and pepper. Pour half of the peanut butter sauce over the ribs, turning to coat both sides and spreading
the marinade all over the ribs with a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate the remaining peanut butter sauce; you'll
use it for basting and serving.|
|4.||Let the ribs marinate
in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight, turning them 3 or 4 times. The longer the
ribs marinate, the richer the flavor will be. (The ribs can also be marinated in large heavy resalable plastic bags.)
|5.||Set up the grill and preheat to medium (325° to 350°F). Place a large drip pan in the center of the grill under the grate.|
|6.||When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the ribs bones die down in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away form the heat. (If your grill has limited space, stand the racks of ribs uprights in a rib rack.) Cover the grill and cook the ribs for 45 minutes.|
|7.||Brush the ribs on both sides with a little peanut butter sauce. Re-cover the grill and continue cooking the ribs until well browned, cooked through, and tender enough to pull apart with your fingers, 30 to 45 minutes longer, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours in all, basting the ribs with peanut butter sauce 2 or 3 times. When the ribs are done, the meat will have shrunk back form the ends of the bones by about 1/4 inch. If using a charcoal grill, replenish the coals as needed.|
||Transfer the ribs to a large platter or cutting board. Let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the racks
in half or into individual ribs. Pour the remaining peanut butter sauce over the ribs and sprinkle the cilantro on top.
Serve at once.|
|9.||Cut the ribs into 3/4-inch-thick slices,
and garnish each serving with a mint sprig. Serve the sauce separately.|
Excerpted from RAICHLEN ON RIBS, RIBS, OUTRAGEOUS RIBS copyright © 2006 Steven Raichlen.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.