My Recipe Box

Barbecue Braised Country Spareribs with Beer and Mustard Glaze

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Serves four to six.

For this recipe, the German dark lager called bock beer is my top choice, but any dark lager works well. Serve with boiled new potatoes or potato salad.

For the ribs:
  • 1 Tbs. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard (preferably Coleman’s)
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 lb. bone-in country style pork ribs
For the braising liquid:
  • 4 strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (3 cups)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, chopped (1 Tbs.)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 12-oz. bottle bock beer or dark lager
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
For the glaze:
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Season:

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, brown sugar, dry mustard, sage, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Set aside 2 tsp. to use in the braise and sprinkle the remaining rub all over the ribs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

Sear:

Prepare a gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Grill the ribs until nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, let cool briefly, and then tie each rib with 3 or 4 loops of butcher’s twine.

Braise:

Prepare the grill for indirect grilling. In an 8-quart heavy-duty pot, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it just starts to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to color, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, carrot, and the reserved spice rub and cook for about 1 minute more. Add the broth, beer, vinegar, bay leaves, and caraway seeds. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Nestle the ribs into the braising liquid. Set the pot on the grill over the cool zone. Cover the pot, close the grill lid, and cook until fork-tender, about 1-1/2 hours, turning the ribs halfway through cooking.

Transfer the ribs to a tray. Strain the braising liquid into a heatproof vessel, such as a Pyrex measuring cup, and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Discard the solids. Skim off and discard the fat. Keep warm.

Glaze:

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over medium-low heat. In a small bowl, stir the mustard, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in just enough of the braising liquid, 1 Tbs. at a time, to produce a glaze thin enough to easily brush on the ribs. Brush one side of the ribs with the glaze and grill glazed side down until bubbly and beginning to darken, 3 to 5 minutes. Brush the other side, flip the ribs, and grill until the glaze is bubbly and beginning to darken, an  additional 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the string from the ribs, put them on a warm platter, and drizzle with the remaining braising liquid.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make this dish through the braising step the day before serving. Just cool and wrap the meat and braising liquid separately. Refrigerate overnight and glaze the next day. To spread out the work even more, you can season the meat the day before you braise.

Variations

To use a charcoal grill: To sear the spareribs, build a medium-high fire: Ignite about 5 quarts of charcoal (80 to 100 briquettes), using either a chimney starter or an electric starter. When the charcoal is burning well, spread it out over the surface of the charcoal grate and put the cooking grate in place. Let the charcoal burn down until it's coated with gray ash. To test the temperature, hold your hand about two inches above the cooking grate; when you can hold your hand there for 2 to 3 seconds (a medium-high fire), you're ready to sear the spareribs.

After searing, divide the coals evenly, banking them against two sides of the grill (use long-handled tongs to move the coals). Put the cooking grate in place; if your cooking grate has hinged sections, position them over the charcoal. Place an oven thermometer on the grate over the cooler area, close the lid, and let the coals burn until the thermometer reads about 350ºF. When ready, place the pot over the cool zone and braise as directed above. Check the thermometer every 20 minutes, replenishing the charcoal as necessary to keep the temperature between 325ºF and 375ºF. If the coals are still burning well, you can simply add a handful of unlit coals on top. Otherwise, you'll need to add lit coals.

To glaze the spareribs, build a second fire just as you did in the searing step, but let the coals burn down until you can hold your hand two inches above the cooking grate for 5 to 7 seconds (a medium-low fire). Continue with the glazing, as directed in the recipe.

Note: Grill-braising on charcoal could blacken your stainless steel pot. If you don’t want to deal with cleanup, use a disposable aluminum pan and cover it tightly in aluminum foil, both of which can be recycled.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 560; Fat (g): 35; Fat Calories (kcal): 310; Saturated Fat (g): 13; Protein (g): 35; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): 22; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): 660; Cholesterol (mg): 130; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is an excellent dish that can be made any time of year. I do the braising in the oven. And I always start out with the best meat from my butcher. The braising liquid - I always save the leftovers, and it is a great addition to soup!

I made this for my parents and grandparents. It was absolutely delicious. I will for sure make this again.

This was an excellent recipe. It takes a while to complete, but the active cooking time isn't very long. I must take issue with the other previous comments - braising meat should never leave it dry, and the multiple layers of flavor make it truly delicous.

I was torn between giving this 2 or 3 stars. It was a fun recipe to make, and was tasty, but the pork came out really dry. The sauce saved it, though, so it worked out in the end. However, I was disappointed with the texture of the meat. I did not have a dark beer, I used an oaked belgian ale (Firestone Lil' Opal homebrew clone), and it seemed to work out flavor-wise for me. I also do not think I'll make this one again, though. As for the technique itself, the grill-braised pot roast came out perfectly, so I will try the other recipes using this technique.

This was average in flavor. Wouldn't make again.

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