More than half of the recipes in Adam Perry Lang’s latest cookbook, BBQ 25: The World’s Most Flavorful Now Made Foolproof, are “quick cook” meals because, as he writes in the book’s introduction, “sometimes all you want is instant gratification.” He shares his recipe for sweet, spicy Beef Back Ribs, the key to which, he says, is “to believe in it by allowing moist heat and time to break down and tenderize the tough collagen during the wrapping stage.”
Perry Lang, best known for his wildly popular barbecue spot, Daisy May’s BBQ USA, has partnered with Jamie Oliver for the British chef’s forthcoming London restaurant, Barbecoa. What he likes best about beef ribs is the fact that the cut “looks so trimmed and uninviting when raw, and then it plumps up when cooked to yield substantial and satisfying gnawing pleasure.” That’s one (tempting) way to put it.
Beef Back Ribs
Four five-bone racks beef back ribs
For the seasoning:
1 tbsp beef base (see next page)
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure chili powder (optional)
For the wrap:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet white onion
board dressing or your favorite barbecue sauce (see next page)
Massage the beef base into the ribs. Combine the remaining seasoning ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Season the ribs “like rain” on both sides and on the ends. Press in the seasonings, and dab the meat on the board to collect any excess.
Prepare for indirect grilling by heating the grill to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the meat on the well-oiled preheated grill and cook, covered, with the addition of wood of your choice (Perry Lang prefers oak and/or fruit woods) for one hour and 15 minutes.
Remove the ribs from the heat. Put two large sheets of heavy-duty foil on top of each other and place one rack, top side up, on the foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of chopped onion, then sprinkle with up to 2 tablespoons of cold water to moisten the rack. Wrap the rack in the foil to make a neat parcel, being careful not to pierce the foil with the bones. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Put the foil parcels back onto the grill, top side down, and cook, covered, for another hour and 15 minutes. Remove the parcels and allow to rest, still wrapped, for 15 minutes. Unwrap the racks and discard the foil. Put the ribs back on the grill and cook for 30 minutes to tighten the glaze and “kiss” the meat with smoke. Pour the board dressing onto a cutting board, or slather the board with barbecue sauce, and cut the meat into individual ribs, dipping the cut ends into the dressing or sauce. Beef base is concentrated stock in liquid form, typically found in supermarkets and gourmet stores. It gives an added depth of flavor and richness.
Board dressing creates extra flavor on your cutting board. Combine 6 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.