The best part about Florida life has got to be our ability to live and cook outdoors year round. It’s true we clean up our patios and yard each spring with the goal of casual summer evenings outdoors, but the Fall and early Winter months provide the best weekend escapes. Over the next few months we will explore the secrets to grilling, smoking and what exactly it means to barbecue. The selection of sauces and rubs available out there varies, so The Spice & Tea Exchange here in St. Augustine has made it easy to pick your flavor.
Smokey: Backwoods Hickory Rub
If you’re going for more of a smoky flavor, then the best rub recommendation would be the Backwoods Hickory Smoke Blend. It’s a real outdoorsy kind of flavor! It smells like a real barbecue, however the flavor profile is a bit aggressive. You have to like smoke, and if you like smoky flavor or smoked ribs, this is about as close as you’re going to get without smoking them yourself!
Hot & spicy have a lot of options ranging from the Jamaican Jerk to the Cajun rub. Traditionally these have been used for “blackening” foods but have noticed that leaving it on overnight to cure you get a nice spice seasoning on the exterior of the meat. Enough heat that you won’t be screaming for water. Two other options are the signature blend and Tailgaters blend. Both work in tandem with vegetal and herbal flavors to give a nice hint of spice to the ribs. Lastly, Sweet heat is a balanced combo between sweet onion sugar, sweet paprika and peppers.
The best rub for sweet tasting ribs is the sweet onion sugar mixed into any of the rubs discussed or your personal favorite. This melts into the surface of the meat and adds to the natural sugars present in the meat. For a last touch just add the bbq sauce of your choice. This will give you a lovely caramelization. Another sweet blend would be the Crazy Chicken Blend which has a hint of oriental flavors.
How To Grill Ribs Without a Smoker:
The secret to great tasting ribs is to slowly render the fat from the meat and flavor from the bone. The rub soaks into all that deliciousness, and a little bit of sauce goes a long way.
Rub your ribs with your spice blend coating front and back. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight on a sheet pan to collect any juices that might seep out. In the morning, place the ribs in a shallow pan (or on a rack in a shallow pan) and pour any juices that have collected over the ribs. Put about 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pan and cover with aluminum foil, tightly wrapping the pan. Bake at 225° F for at least 5 hours or as long as 8 hours until most of the fat is rendered out and meat is fork tender. Remove ribs from pan, pat dry and prepare grill for direct, high heat grilling.
Meanwhile, make your own barbecue sauce for basting. Combine butter and onions in a large sauce pan. When the butter begins to bubble, add the brown sugar and cook until mixture is reduced by about half; add the remaining ingredients, return the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes or until the mixture is thick and saucy. Taste and adjust seasoning with TSTE® Florida Sunshine and Pirate’s Bite, or any of the TSTE® smoked sea salts and pepper.
Grill ribs over direct heat for about 5 minutes per side, basting with the sauce at least once per side. Let ribs rest; tent with aluminum foil. Collect any juices and mix into barbecue sauce. Serve sauce alongside ribs.
Let us know how you did!
Visit: The Spice & Tea Exchange | 59 Hypolita Street | 167 San Marco Avenue