Smoked Loin Back Ribs with Cherry Barbecue Sauce
While this is a tomato-based sauce, the addition of dried cherries and cherry preserves add just the right amount of sweetness to the pork.
What you need:
1 cup Cool Smoke Rub
2 racks loin back pork ribs (about 1 1/2 pounds each), trimmed with membrane removed (ask your butcher to do this)
1/2 cup apple juice, in a spray bottle, for the grill
3 cups Cherry Barbecue Sauce (recipe below)
1. Season the ribs: An hour before you plan to cook the ribs, season each rack with a 1/2 cup of Cool Smoke Rub (use 1/4 cup per side), using a shaker to dust evenly on both sides.
2. Preheat the grill: When you are ready to cook, heat the smoker to 275 degrees F pit temperature. Alternatively, heat a grill to 275 degrees F, using the 2-Zone setup, using three or four chucks of your favorite wood in addition to the charcoal or gas.
3. Cook the ribs: Place the ribs meat-side up in the smoker, or on the cool side of the grill, close the lid and cook for 1 hour, then spray with apple juice to moisten. Cook the ribs for 1 hour more, spraying them with juice again after 30 minutes and a final time at the 2-hour mark.
4. Prepare the Cherry Barbecue Sauce.
5. Cut two 18 x 24-inch lengths of foil to wrap each rib rack in a tight package.
6. Wrap ribs in foil: When the ribs have a reddish-brown mahogany color, transfer them from the grill and place each rack meat-side down on a sheet of foil and wrap tightly, being careful not to puncture the foil. Place the rib packages meat-side down on the smoker, or on the cool side of the grill, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours more, until tender. Open the foil packages and use a skewer or a toothpick to check for doneness.
7. Sauce Ribs: Remove the ribs from the foil, brush each rack with 1/2 cup of the Cherry Barbecue Sauce (use 1/4 cup per side), and return them meat-side up to the smoker, or to the cool side of the grill, for 5 to 10 minutes to set the sauce. Watch them carefully so you do not burn or overset the sauce.
To serve: Transfer to a platter and serve with any remaining sauce on the side.
Cherry Barbecue Sauce
makes 1 quart
What you need:
3 cups ketchup
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1/2 cup sun-dried cherries
1. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine all the ingredients with 1/2 cup water over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring continuously, for 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Puree the cooled sauce in a blender until smooth, and set aside until ready to use, or transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 weeks.