It’s Officially Barbecue Season!

We’ve finally had a handful of days over 70 degrees without rain in Seattle – which means it’s officially barbecue season!  For me that means fewer dishes and less last minute preparation for meals.  WOOT!

Over the long weekend we found time to rub & smoke 4 racks of beef ribs with whiskey barbecue sauce.  We invited enough friends over that sadly there are no remains in the freezer as planned.  

Last year we did a rib-off with half being baked then finished on the gas grill and half being smoked.  The smoked ribs won hands down for both texture and flavor but the baked then grilled ribs were awesome as well and such an easy meal to prepare.  Note that the rub sits on the ribs the night before so plan accordingly.

And now for the recipes:

Of course, start with grass fed, sustainable and locally raised beef or pork ribs.  I got mine from

For the rub (loosely adapted from Stephen Raichlen’s Memphis Rub):

  • 3 T paprika
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 – 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T sea salt (smoked if you have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cumin

Mix all the seasonings together and rub on the ribs.   Wrap them in aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or longer.

About 3 hours before you want to eat take them out and preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  Place the aluminum foil packages on a jelly roll pan and bake them for about 2 1/2 hours.  When they are done remove them from the foil and finish them on the grill to char the outside and carmelize the sauce you are about to make and smother them with. 

Some folks don’t do sauce because they want to taste the flavor of the ribs so we generally sauce only half of them and serve the sauce separately.

The Whiskey Barbecue Sauce:

  •  one medium, minced onion
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  •  1/2 cup Rockridge Orchards apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce or fermented Asian fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 3 Tablespoons whiskey or bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Sautee the onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil until it begins to get soft and starts to carmelize.  Add everything else and bring it to a low simmer, uncovered for about an hour and half until it thickens.  This won’t be as thick as ketsup but it should thicken somewhat.

Once it has cooled you can add 2 Tablespoons of whey to the sauce and then let it set out at room temperature for 2 days before refrigerating. The whey will preserve the sauce through lacto-fermentation. I know this sounds wrong but I’ve done this with homemade mayonnaise and it lasts for months that way. It’s a very traditional way that people used to preserve food, even without refrigeration. I am simply fascinated by this right now. You can also substitute homemade tomato sauce for the water and tomato paste.

Enjoy a hasslefree summer meal with few dishes to wash!

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