It was great to finally see some warmer weather here in Memphis. The past 4 weeks have been miserable, and this southern boy is ready for Spring!
I’m hoping we’ve seen the end of the snow and ice for a long while because it’s BBQ time. This week I want to share with you my recipe for Jerk style Spare Ribs.
When most people think of Jerk seasoning or sauce, chicken immediately comes to mind. I even have a Killer recipe for Jerk Chicken and that’s what inspired this recipe for ribs.
But Jerk flavors are not just for chicken, and today I’m using it on a couple racks of St. Louis cut spare ribs.
To get started with this recipe you’ll need a couple racks of ribs. The ribs I have are Compart Duroc, St. Louis cut, Spare Ribs; but you can use any brand of ribs you want. Compart does have some mighty fine pork, and if you haven’t tried it I highly suggest doing so. (Thank me later)
Be sure to remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs and rinse the rack under cool water to remove any bone fragments. Pat the ribs dry with paper towel and place on a cutting board for seasoning.
Normally we would hit these ribs with a good BBQ rub but since I’m going for Jerk Style ribs I need a jerk rub. You can find some decent Jerk seasonings in most grocery stores but it’s just as easy to make one yourself.
Jerk Rub Recipe:
(note: this makes enough for one slab – double as needed)
– 2 Teaspoon salt
– 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/4 Teaspoon dried parsley flakes
– 1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1/4 Teaspoon dried thyme
– 1/4 Teaspoon onion powder
– 1/4 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon
– 1/4 Teaspoon ground Clove
– 1/4 Teaspoon ground Nutmeg
– 1/4 Teaspoon ground Allspice
To season the ribs first brush a light coat of peanut oil on both sides. This will give the seasoning something to stick too.
For the first layer of flavor I use my All Purpose rub 4parts Salt, 2parts granulated garlic, and 1 part Black pepper. Shake a light coat on both sides of the ribs.
Next sprinkle on the Jerk Seasoning and rub it into the meat. Place the ribs back into the refrigerator to dry marinate for 1-2 hrs.
After a couple hours the ribs are ready for the smoke. You can use any grill or smoker for this; just be sure to set it up for indirect cooking. The cooking temperature should be 250-275 degrees and you’ll need a little wood for smoke. Traditionally pimento wood is used for Jerk recipes, but I don’t have access to any, so I just used a couple chunks of pecan.
Once the smoker is ready (I’m using my Drum), the ribs can be placed on the racks. The first 2 hours of the cooking process is all about the smoke. Spritz the ribs with pineapple juice every 30 minutes.
After 1 hour flip the ribs meat side down, so both sides get some color. I want to see them a little browned on both sides before wrapping.
After 2 hours of spritzing and flipping, the ribs are ready to wrap. They’ll have enough smoke flavor, so now it’s time to get them tender. Lay out a couple strips of foil a little longer than the slabs.
For the wrap I start with butter or margarine, organic sugar, and Hot sauce on the foil (just eyeball it) Place the ribs meat side down on this mixture and pour 3oz of pineapple juice over the bone side. Wrap the ribs tight in the foil. Place both racks back on the smoker once wrapped.
Typically these ribs will take about 1 ½ – 2 hours to get tender. It depends on the heat of your cooker. It’s very important to start looking at them at the 1 hour mark to check the tenderness.
First lift the ribs from the end and see if the bones feel flexible. If you notice that they seem to start folding, bring a slab inside and open it. I want to see the membrane over the end bones starting to disintegrate, and the ends of the bones should show a little pull back. This tells me that they’re almost ready.
You can use a probe thermometer to check internal temperature. Spare ribs are done somewhere around 200-205 degrees internal. I usually forgo the thermometer, but when you’re just starting out cooking ribs, it may help to use the thermometer. Be sure to stick the ribs between the bones or you can get false reading. Also note the feel of the meat as you stick the probe into it. It should have slight resistance but almost feel like it’s going into butter.
Return the ribs to the smoker if they need a little more time, but continue to monitor them in 15 minute intervals. The slabs I cooked were perfect after 1 hour 15 minutes in the wrap.
To really have a jerk style rib, they need a good finishing sauce. The sauce brings even more flavor to the meat and when it’s cooked on right at the end, it adds the perfect combination of sweet, sour, and heat that make the Jerk flavors pop.
Here’s my recipe for the Jerk BBQ Sauce:
– 1 cup pineapple juice
– 3/4 cup ketchup
– ½ cup brown sugar
– 3-4 scallions sliced thin
– 3 cloves of garlic chopped
– 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper finely chopped
– 1T fresh thyme minced
– 1T Jamaican Jerk seasoning
– 2 limes juiced
– 2 tablespoons butter
In a sauce pot melt the butter and sauté the scallions, garlic, and pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer for 20 min.
Now that the ribs are tender, bring both racks inside and carefully drain the liquid out of the foil. Fold the foil into a tray/boat shape around the ribs. This step makes it easier to transfer the ribs back to the smoker for a final glaze.
Brush the bone side with the jerk sauce and flip the ribs over. Hit the tops with the jerk sauce and place both racks back on the cooker. At this stage you’ll need to keep a close eye on the ribs. It only takes about 15 minutes to set the sauce. If you walk away too long it can burn on you, so don’t go too far!
Once the sauce tacks-up and starts to brown a little get the ribs off the pit.
Place them on the cutting board and give them a 5-10 minute rest. This step stops the cooking process and lets the ribs tighten enough to cut. I also reserved a little scallion and a few slices of scotch bonnet for garnish (it just looks good). You can skip this step if you have folks that are sensitive to heat.
To cut the ribs for serving, flip the racks meat side down and use the bones as a gauge. Use a sharp knife and cut in between each bone. I also reserve half of the Jerk sauce for serving with the ribs.
Jerk flavors are not just for chicken. The next time you’re looking for a different rib flavor give these a try.