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Killer Ribs, or Jitterbug's Secret Recipe Has Finally Met Its Match

Grilled Ribs

Yesterday’s massive pigout light repast from the grill had me a bit sated at the time, but as dinner loomed on the horizon today I was hungry for more from the grill. (Loomed on the Horizon = It was after breakfast sometime, and I had to come up with an idea.) Two teenaged boys (well okay; one of them’s now tweenaged, mebbe) need some almighty filling, and if course, I can’t let them eat alone. I now have a bit more respect for my mom’s efforts when I was growing up. Keeping four teenagers tanked up would test the endurance of Lance Armstrong (assuming he knows anything at all about cooking). So with only two to feed I don’t feel so bad, really.

In a sense, I was already prepared. I had scored a really nice slab of pork spareribs (see yesterday’s post), and I just knew they’d come in handy. As in about now. The only challenge: To make ribs that are Even Better Than Jessica’s World-Famous Ribs. Now there’s a challenge I could really sink my teeth into. It’s right up there with conquering Everest using only gym sweats, a ball of twine and a dinner fork. Or solo-sailing around the world in a claw-foot bathtub using a shower curtain for sails. Or finishing Super Mario Brothers blindfolded.

In other words, the kind of challenge that defines the word “impossible” in the Funk & Wagnalls. Right up my alley! (Hey, I not only have children, I teach at University. I’m primed.)

Deric wandered over and we prepared our Secret Weapon: A spice rub. Paprika, garlic powder, cumin, Kashmiri chile powder (just a bit), garam masala, turmeric, mixed dried herbs (McCormick’s), light brown sugar and light olive oil. A few other things, all secret spices, went into the mix. We cut the long rack of ribs in half the short way, then coated all surfaces with the rub. We stacked the two slabs inside a large cooking bag, with sliced onions on top, bottom and in-between. Next, a full bottle of Shiner Black (I was drinking the last of the Negra Modelo; I deserved it, this cooking stuff is Hard Work!) went into the bag, and then the bag went into a slow over for a couple of hours.

Okay, that’s cheating. No self-respecting barbeque specialist would ever be caught dead with food that was prepped in an oven! (The beer, that’s a different story.) Since this is one of Jitterbug’s secrets, though, we decided we could cheat with the best of them mimic her. And guess what: It worked! The ribs came out just the right tenderness, and the flavor was great! Going to be, I mean; I’d never snitch any at this point. Really. Not ever! Cross my heart and swallow a fly.

More Ribs

Anyway, once the ribs had cooled down enough to handle, we drained and threw away the liquid and onions.

Are you Crazy?? Of Course we kept the juices. AND the onions. Gravy was on the menu, to top off the stuffing that I had planned. (The usual, from the usual box. I’m allowed a shortcut or two.) The plan was, once the ribs hit the hot grill I’d make the roux and use the juices and some of the onions, properly chopped, to prepare the sauce.

Once the grill was hot and ready, the ribs went on along with some pineapple chunks. We put som Jack Daniels on the meat to keep it moist. Not the liquor, the sauce. It only took a few minutes to get nicely caramelized ribs and pineapple, about the same time it took to get the gravy ready. Teamed up with a salad (I had explicit warnings instructions to feed healthy food while the meddlers womenfolk were away playing with the new baby), the meal was better than many I’ve had in good restaurants. So good we took pictures!

The final verdict on the quality of the ribs? Well, the vote was uninamous; Jessi’s ribs came in a distant second. How could that possibly happen? Like this: between me and Kai, I’m the only one who’s had Jessica’s ribs, so I was the only one who got a vote. (Deric’s a minor, and besides, he was too busy stuffing his pie hole.) And Jess wasn’t here to defend her title, so by default; well, you get the picture. Like all rating challenges in sports, however, there’s really only one way to settle the question: Put it on the field.

I expect to receive a throwdown challenge any day now…

Enjoy the (Clan’s, and Maybe World’s, Best Ribs) Heat!

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