Here Comes the Heat!

It’s unbelievable, yet here we are again, cleaning off the grill and getting ready to fire up a whole summer’s worth of tasty meals. Pretty pictures dance across my mind even now as I sit down to write: grilled peaches, a whole variety of grilled ribs, grilled vegetable flatbreads, steaks, my famous Texas Dr. Pepper chicken, and plenty more great BBQ dishes. Oh I can hardly wait- is it dinnertime yet?

Also, since I will be teaching cooking classes at Central Markets all around Texas in a few months, I thought it would be a good time for me to work on some new tangy BBQ sauces and different rib grilling techniques. Some folks like to just throw their ribs right onto the grill and cook them that way. Others like to boil the ribs- especially if they are bone-in- for an hour, in a tasty blend of broth, bay leaves, peppers and onion, before grilling. That allows the meat to come away from bone so the ribs are nice and tender, mmmm…

I personally like to marinate whatever I’m going to grill, overnight in the fridge- in a variety of savory and/or spicy concoctions. One of my favorites is a Coca-cola marinade that then serves double duty, since you cook the marinade down with additional ingredients into a lovely BBQ sauce with a little kick to it that you slather on the ribs as you grill them up. There’s a version of this in my cookbook, Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook, but I like to altar recipes to suit my moods, the season, whatever catches my eye at the Farmer’s Market… so here’s yet another version of my Coca-Cola BBQ Baby Back Ribs recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Ruby’s Recent Coca Cola BBQ Baby Back Ribs
4# baby back ribs
1-16 oz bottle real sugar Coca Cola
1 large onion, quartered
1 cl garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 T whole black peppercorns
1 stick butter
1 cl garlic, minced
1 c catsup
1 T Dijon mustard
¼ c brown sugar
1 t Worcestershire sauce

• Mix Coca-cola, onion, garlic, bay leaves & peppercorns in a non-reactive bowl. Add ribs, cover and refrigerate overnight.
• Set ribs aside to be grilled. Meanwhile, remove onion from marinade and chop.
• Place butter, chopped onion, and garlic into a large heavy saucepan and cook onion until lightly browned and caramelized.
• Add catsup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and 1 cup of Coca Cola from the marinade. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, stirring until the sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
• Remove from heat and allow to cool. Using a blender or processor, puree the sauce.
• Season the ribs with S&P to taste, slather with the puréed sauce, then grill over medium-high heat, turning often, until char marks show clearly on each side, about 8 minutes.
• Loosely tent the ribs with foil to let rest for a few minutes before serving. Make sure to add extra sauce alongside the ribs along with your meal, and enjoy!

Keep it tasty, and I hope to see you in my kitchen sometime soon.