I hosted an al fresco lunch event for my work colleagues a couple of weeks ago. We are sadly all going through a redundancy period, so to lift spirits I prayed for good weather and cooked up a few classic dishes, including some tasty sticky tamarind baby back ribs.
Sticky Tamarind Baby Back Ribs
Acquiring Baby Back Ribs
A rack of baby back ribs (also known as pork loin ribs) can be difficult to get hold of. Some supermarkets sell them, but often either already cut into individual ribs or coated with a BBQ sauce. I source these ribs from Turner and George of London. The ribs were excellent (and very well priced), I highly recommend them (no commercial connection).
To get the most out of this, this you’ll need a Big Green Egg or similar, as part of the cooking involves smoking the ribs. This method can be used for slow cooking ribs in a standard oven (without adding smoke in the first stage), if doing this use a non-fan setting.
In addition you’ll need:
- Kitchen foil
- Sharp knife
- Sauce or pastry brush
- Drip tray
- Folding rib rack (optional)
I use a folding rib rack during the first smoking stage when cooking a large number of ribs for a party (including the event for my team at work). The picture below shows four sets of ribs cooking in such a rack.
For the wrapped and basting stages, I still used a two level rack as I needed to baste the ribs every so often. I didn’t use this for the first stage because I didn’t want the fat from the top level to drip down onto the ribs below.
- 2 baby back / pork loin rib racks
- 2-3 tbsp dry rub
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ jar Cheeky Food Company “Tickly Tamarind” chutney
- Orange wood smoking chunk (optional)
- Preheat the Egg to 125°C/250°F, indirect setup. Once the coals are glowing and the Egg’s temperature is stable, toss on the wood chunks and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
- Meanwhile, and if it’s there, remove any membrane from the back of the ribs with a sharp knife. Coat the top of the ribs with the rub.
- Place a drip tray on the platesetter of the Egg, then add the stainless steel grid and place the ribs on the grid (or in a rib rack), bone side down. Smoke the ribs in the Egg for 2 hours.
- Lay out some kitchen foil (enough to wrap up one of the racks) on a flat surface, then fold up the edges a little. Pour a little cider vinegar down the length of the foil. Remove a rack of ribs from the Egg, place it on the foil bone side down, over the vinegar. Wrap the foil around the ribs, poke a couple of small holes in the top with a sharp knife.
- Repeat the above step for each rack of ribs. Then return all of the wrapped ribs to the Egg, cook for a further 2 hours.
- Remove the wrapped ribs from the Egg, and remove them from the silver foil. Pour the marinade down the length of the ribs, and gently brush it to the edges of the ribs. Return to the Egg and cook for up to an hour.
- Serve with smokey bourbon baked beans and New York deli style coleslaw.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- During the last hour, check every 15 mins to see if more marinade is needed (sometimes they can dry out), or the ribs are done. I normally go for 30-35 minutes to get the desired effect with the sauce.
- This video clip shows how to remove membrane from the ribs: