Tue Jun 19, 2012
In the world of barbecue, it's so easy to have tunnel vision and see ribs only as rubbed down and slow smoked beauties. Sure there's lots of a variety in there—dry, KC sweet, Memphis tangy—but it's still a narrow view of what can be so much more. That's why I was so excited when I first saw these herb-encrusted baby back ribs on Another Pint Please, forcing me to expand my worldview of ribs, and I knew I just had to try time.
These baby backs couldn't be more different than their barbecue counterparts, starting with the rub. Dropping the complex mixed of dried spices, these still start with a rub, but one made entirely of fresh herbs.
Basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley are mixed together and pressed into both sides of the ribs. I was a little apprehensive about this at first, afraid the herbs may burn on the grill, but I put a lot of trust in Mike Lang's grilling abilities, so I went for it.
Then, departing from both low and slow, the rack was threaded on the rotisserie spit to cook over medium, indirect heat with no additional smoke. This in ingenious method to cook them, since the slowly rendering fat from the ribs will baste the rack in flavorful, porky greatness.
After about two and half hours, the ribs had turned to a beautiful reddish-brown and the herbs were solidly embedded in the meat to form a bark like none other I'd ever seen. At this point my mouth was watering.
But one final step of basting the ribs with a garlic and basil infused oil kept me from pulling the ribs and devouring them at that point. Just another half an hour and the meat was tender and these babies were ready for consumption.
Without smoke, the pork had a very mild flavor that let the subtleties of each herb come through. They were juicy and tender with just the right pull off the bone, but for such a barbecue freak as myself, they were lacking just something a little extra. I would put my money on that something being smoke, and if making them again, I'd throw on a wood chunk or two to coax a little more flavor into the rack, and then I'd deem these near perfect. More important though, these ribs have opened up my mind to think outside the smoker, and I'm now awash in dreams of ribs of all types, the question is just where to go next.
Herb-Encrusted Baby Back Ribs
Adapted from Another Pint Please.
- Prep Time:
- 15 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 3 Hours
- Total Time:
- 3 Hours 15 Minutes
- 2-3 servings
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 rack of baby back ribs, trimmed of excess fat and back membrane removed
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup basil & garlic infused olive oil
- In a small bowl, mix together basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley. Set aside.
- Liberally salt and pepper the front and back of the ribs. Sprinkle the herb mixture over both sides of the ribs, pressing the herbs into the meat with your fingertips.
- Light one chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals in two piles on either side of the charcoal grate. Cover grill, close air vents and let temperature drop to 250 degrees. Thread ribs onto rotisserie spit, securing each end with rotisserie tines. Place spit on the grill, cover, open the air vents, and cook ribs until the meat starts to pull away from the end of the bone, about 3 hours, replenishing the fire with 10 lit coals on each pile half way through cooking to keep the temperature at 250 degrees.
- Approximately 30 minutes before the ribs are done, baste the rack once with basil and garlic infused olive oil.
- Remove spit from the grill and allow ribs to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove ribs from spit, slice, and serve immediately.