It’s summertime, and all manners of berries and stone fruit are flooding the supermarket shelves. Growing up I was never very fond of berries. Living in tropical Singapore, the only berries that made it to local grocery stores were usually sour and very expensive, and I never developed a taste for them. Come New York City, however, they were usually cheap and abundant (and so full of fiber and antioxidants!) that I never fail to keep some berries around in the summertime.
These blackberry ribs are kind of genius. The blackberry glaze imparts sticky sweetness along with some heat from the red pepper flakes and paprika, while the slow cooking ensures that the ribs are juicy and tender. The recipe is easy enough to do; it just takes a little bit of planning and preparation before you can actually sink your teeth into them. I didn’t have a food processor to chop up the berries, so I mashed it up with a fork as best as I can and ended up with a slightly chunky glaze.
Sticky Blackberry Barbequed Pork Ribs
From The Wall Street Journal
2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 2-2½ pounds each)
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
1¼ cups honey
¾ pound (about 2½ cups) blackberries
½ cup blackberry preserves
¼ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons bourbon (or whiskey)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes
What To Do
1. Flip one rib rack over and insert the tip of a butter knife under tough membrane that covers back of rack. Wiggle knife to loosen membrane. Grab membrane with a paper towel and pull it off. Repeat with remaining rack.
2. At least 1 hour before cooking, mix 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Season ribs very generously on all sides with spice mixture. Let ribs come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, set up a grill to cook with indirect heat: For a charcoal grill, light charcoal using a chimney starter. When coals have started to ash over on top, pour them all onto one side of lower grate. This creates a hot zone and a cooler zone. If using a gas grill, light burners on one side of grill, leaving others off to create a hot zone and a cooler zone. Or preheat an oven to 350 degrees to cook ribs indoors.
4. Place ribs meaty-side up on cooler side of the grill and close lid. (Make sure vents are partly open.) Or put ribs in a roasting pan and place in oven. Cook ribs 1 hour. If using a charcoal grill, light more charcoal briquettes in chimney starter and pour on top of coals to replenish the fire. Flip ribs meaty-side down. Cook until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
5. Meanwhile, make blackberry glaze: In a blender, purée honey, blackberries, preserves, maple syrup, bourbon, vinegar, red-pepper flakes and remaining salt and pepper. Scrape into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until reduced and syrupy.
6. Flip ribs meaty-side up, brush generously with glaze and close the lid. Cook 1 minute. Brush meaty side with glaze again. Move ribs to hot side of grill and flip over. Brush underside of racks with glaze. Close lid. Cook 1 minute or until glazed and caramelized on both sides. If cooking inside, brush ribs with glaze and place under broiler until glazed and caramelized, 1-2 minutes. Season generously with salt and let rest 10 minutes before serving.