Saturday, 6 August 2011

Glazed sticky ribs

Weather-wise we're currently on a roller-coaster this summer and this week we've had the barbecue out again – although our Weber kettle barbie works well no matter what the heavens grace us with. This recipe from Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall's River Cottage Meat Bible for sticky ribs is our current barbecue favourite, but you can also cook them in the oven. We use packs of spare ribs and allow plenty – as many as half a dozen per person. For four servings, we use a triple quantity of the marinade. You could also use a whole rack of ribs, divided up. We just focus on the ribs as they are so tasty (and messy) and serve them simply with a mixed salad, crusty bread or new potatoes and big, gutsy fruity red such as Californian Zinfandel (which often has a suitably sweet/sour character). Reds from all round the Mediterranean are also likely to work well – plenty of ripe fruit, some warm alcohol and an easy-going personality is what you're after. Nothing too sleek or formal – those sticky fingers can make a mess of your glass!

Barbecued glazed spare ribs
(for the marinade)
2–3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 level teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon English mustard
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper (about 2 teaspoons)
2–3 tablespoons vinegar (Hugh F-W recommends brown rice vinegar, but red wine vinegar is fine)

Firstly crush the garlic and salt together to make a paste. You can use a fork, but my heavy pestle and mortar makes easy work of this (particularly for larger quantities). Add all the other ingredients, mixing together well, adding the vinegar at the end to make a thick emulsion.

Thoroughly coat the ribs with the marinade and leave in a non-metallic dish for several hours (eg mid afternoon for an evening barbecue).

To barbecue: allow the coals to become white hot and either place the ribs directly on the bars or cook them in a roasting tray. Cook, turning occasionally for about 20 minutes. We keep the lid on our Weber during cooking to boost the smoky aromas.

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