A Memorial Day Recipe

May 23, 2015

When a friend showed up with some beautiful ribs from Iberian pigs that were locally raised and finished on acorns, I began considering how to cook them. Then I remembered one of my favorite Gourmet recipes.  It's one that Ian Knauer created for one of our last summer issues. (Ian now has The Farm Cooking School, where he's constantly posting great recipes like the newest one for a sorrel panna cotta.)

Haven't made them yet, but I'm posting the recipe now because the ribs want to marinate for a day or so.

I can hardly wait!

Sweet and Sour Sticky Grilled Baby Back Ribs

8 pounds baby back ribs, preferably from a humanely raised pig


12 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons sea salt, divided

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary 

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 teaspoons cayenne

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tablespoons sea salt

1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper



juices from the pans

1 cup balsamic vinegar (inexpensive supermarket kind)

½ cup brown sugar


Mash together the garlic and 1 ½ teaspoons salt with the back of a spoon or in a mortar and pestle to make a paste. Mix together the rosemary, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, cayenne pepper, 1 ½ tablespoons salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl, and stir in the garlic paste. Rub the mixture all over the ribs. Remove to a large plastic Ziploc bag or two and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.

Heat an oven to 300 degrees

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let them rest for an hour at room temperature. Place them in two pans in a single layer, add half a cup of water to each pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for 3 hours until tender and falling off the bone.

Remove the ribs from the pans and deglaze each pan with a cup of water. Pour the juices into a measuring cup and allow the fat to rise to the top.  Skim it off and pour the remaining liquid into a large skillet with the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid to about one cup, medium high heat, for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the ribs with salt and pepper, generously brush the glaze over the ribs, and grill for five minutes to give it a hint of smoke. Brush again just before serving.


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