Lynda Balslev: The secret is in the sauce | TheUnion.com
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Lynda Balslev: The secret is in the sauce

Lynda Balslev
Columnist
Memorial Day is around the corner. If you haven’t already escaped to the great outdoors to do some grilling, then now is the time to dust off the grill, breathe in the fresh air, and cook up a platter of these crispy, sticky ribs.
Photo by Lynda Balslev

Memorial Day is around the corner. If you haven’t already escaped to the great outdoors to do some grilling, then now is the time to dust off the grill, breathe in the fresh air, and cook up a platter of these crispy, sticky ribs. When it comes to these baby back ribs, the secret is in the sauce. Infused with pomegranate molasses, the basting and dipping sauce yields a sweet and puckery glaze, ensuring the ribs will crisp to finger-licking goodness over the fire. No grill? No worries. You can also make these ribs in your oven.

Pomegranate molasses is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s a slick reduction of pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon, and a great addition to marinades, sauces, dressings, even drinks. It’s available in the international section of your supermarket and specialty stores.

You can also make your own by combining 1 quart (4 cups) of unsweetened pomegranate juice with 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat, until the juice is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups and has a syrupy consistency, about 1 hour. Cool the syrup slightly (it will continue to thicken as it cools), and then store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Sweet and Sour Pomegranate Lacquered Ribs

Active Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: about 3 1/2 hours, plus marinating time

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Rub:

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

2 racks baby back pork ribs

Sauce:

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup pomegranate molasses

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Sriracha

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Evenly coat the ribs with the rub. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat to meld the flavors, 12 to 15 minutes.

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over low heat, about 275 degrees on a gas grill. (Or heat your oven to 275 degrees.)

Grill the ribs over indirect low heat until the meat is tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning once or twice. During the last 30 minutes or so of cooking, lightly baste with some of the sauce. (If using an oven, arrange the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and roast on the middle rack of your oven.)

Increase the grill heat to medium-high. Baste the ribs with the sauce and grill over direct heat until slightly charred and crisp, turning as needed, 8 to 10 minutes. (Or increase the oven heat to 450 degrees and cook until beginning to crisp, turning as needed.)

Serve with the remaining sauce for dipping.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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