Sunday, September 4, 2011

Baby Back Ribs and Cheddar Grits

I made this meal a few weeks ago and just realized I needed to hurry up and post it since the grilling season is coming to an end!  I have a few more summer recipes that are going to spill into September but I have a long list of cozy fall meals that I am planning to make soon. 

The driving force behind this meal was grits.  My mom tried them at Straight Warf Restaurant for the first time this summer and fell in love (they were some of the best grits I've ever had), so we decided to attempt our own.  They also fit nicely into the corn motif I have going.  I’ve made polenta many times but never worked with its coarser-ground cousin.  We decided the perfect accompaniment to grits would be baby back ribs (they also happen to be one of my dad’s top-five favorite foods).  The only tiny complication in this plan is that we were cooking a meal for 13 people!  When I picked up the ribs from the butcher, he came out with a tray piled high with six racks!  As I paid the bag-boy told me he wanted to come to whatever party we were having. 

Our tiny barbeque can only comfortably accommodate 2 racks at a time so we relied on the oven to cook them slowly all day and then finished them on the grill in shifts.  The result was pretty delicious according to all 13 people.  If you have any leftover grits I would like to suggest topping them with a poached egg and fried onions the next morning for breakfast.  Pretty much the best thing ever.   

Cheddar Grits
makes 4 servings
3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups coarse ground grits
¾ cups sharp cheddar, grated (if you are in Seattle, Beecher’s Flagship is perfect)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Bring water and salt to a boil.  Add grits and reduce heat to low.  Whisk for a few minutes to keep lumps from forming.  The grits should come together in about five minutes.  Add the cheddar and garlic powder to taste. 

Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs
makes 4-6 servings
2 racks of pork ribs
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground thyme
Lots of BBQ Sauce (my new favorite is Rugus Teague Touch o’ Heat)
To make the rub, combine brown sugar, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, and thyme.  Place racks on a large oven tray and vigorously rub with the mixture.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
The next morning, preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Place ribs in the oven to slow-cook all day.  They longer they are in there, the better they will be.  When you are about a half hour from dinner, preheat the grill to medium-high heat.  Baste the ribs with a generous amount of bbq sauce and place on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side (or until they have a nice char to them).  Remove from bbq and smother with more sauce.  They can be returned to the oven to stay warm until you are ready to serve. 

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