First on Saturday, I prepped the spice mix, using cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Reserved a bit less than 1 tablespoon of it, for use with the glaze. I found a jar that had just a bit of apple sauce left in it, and used that (maybe 1/4 or 1/3 cup) to mix up the spices, with an unmeasured handful of brown sugar for sweetness. I stirred it up into a thick brown spice paste. The allspice and the paste consistency reminded me of jerk seasoning:
Then after removing the membrane, rinsing, and drying the ribs, I rubbed the paste on. I wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap and stuck it back in the fridge.
Here it is on the Weber/Smokenator, using hickory for smoke. Forgot to get apple wood at the store, but I wouldn't probably notice the difference anyway. I also had a tin of beans mixed with some leftover brisket burnt ends, diced up.
After three and a half hours I pulled it off and wrapped it in heavy foil. As you can see they are getting pretty close to done, even at this stage. Simply because I didn't want to keep feeding charcoal to my Weber in the blazing heat, I cheated and set the oven at 250 degrees. Does the job! I also poured on a few ounces of my fermented apple cider to steam it nicely.
After an hour and a half, I started cooking down the can of apple juice concentrate. I added in the remaining reserved spices, and got it cooking pretty good. Here it is about half way through, but I think I overdid it, and turned it essentially into caramel. When it was done it was a dark brown thick caramel sludge, with the apple flavor a bit muted by the caramelisation process. Still, caramel ribs are tasty...
So after it had steamed in foil for almost 2 hours, I pulled the ribs out, and they were, at least by Steven Raichlen's standards, a bit TOO done, and were definitely falling off the bone. I brushed on the thick apple glaze and stuck them back in the oven, really for only about 5-10 minutes or so. I took them out, cut them up, and drizzled the remaining apple glaze on top. Served with the smoked BBQ beans and a glass of the aforementioned cider. Reminded me of the sweet glazed pork ribs you sometimes get at chain restaurants, except the pork isn't bland, it is smoky and flavorful.
To change next time:
- Perhaps use a little more apple sauce, or perhaps apple butter, for a thicker coating of the spice marinade.
- Lessen the length of time in foil, so the ribs at least stay on the bone.
- Boil the glaze for less time, to decrease the caramel flavor and leave more apple flavor in.