1 Clove Garlic
1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds (black or regular)
1 Bay Leaf
2-3 cm Cinnamon Stick
4 tbsp Honey
1/4-1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
3 Ounces Bourbon Whiskey
Pork Back (or side) Ribs
Salt and pepper to taste
A lot of commercial BBQ sauces are tomato based. I wanted to build this sauce from the ground up, using as many whole ingredients as possible. I knew I was going to use Applewood chips to smoke the ribs so an apple based BBQ sauce just seemed right. Making the applesauce is pretty simple. Wash, cut and core your apples then throw em in a pot with about 3 cm of water and boil till the apples are soft.
The reason for three different apples? I couldn't tell say! I read that applesauce should be a blend so I grabbed two of my favorites: Golden Delicious and Pink Lady. The Fiji came into the mix because... well... it was just there. I'm going to experiment with different apples, maybe even go all food labs on this recipe to find out what the best apple ratio is.
While your apples are cooking (big surprise coming...) sauté onions, garlic, salt and pepper! This is going to be blended so don't worry too much about size. Also, you are going to want to dry roast the mustard seeds, bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon. When they are toasty grind them to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.
The apples aren't round, the onions are browned, and the spices are ground. Combine everything in a blender and add the honey, tomato paste, and apple cider vinegar.
You can't really see the honey or the vinegar, but it's in there... somewhere...
Blend this concoction until it is pureed. While the blender is blending you get to do one of my favorite things. De-glaze and flam-be! Add the bourbon to the still hot onion pan. Reduce and then lite on fire. Be careful! Ask for a parent or guardians help. Use a BBQ lighter to stay far away from the flame. Or, as I did, a match taped to a spoon.
Once the alcohol is burnt off, and maybe some of your hairs, add the puree from the blender and mix it up. I planned on letting it simmer but even on low small bubbles were popping and getting sauce 5 feet up my walls.
It's not the most photogenic sauce, but it sure is tasty. I think I might add some molasses next time to darken it up. Once it cools store it in the fridge for a few days to let the flavors mellow and blend. This is the first time I've ever made this sauce and the first time I've ever made BBQ sauce so it's a miracle it actually turned out. This sauce was great on grilled chicken and made for some amazing burgers when paired with smoked Gouda, basil, garlic scapes and a poppy seed bun (with ketchup and Billy Bee Honey mustard too of course). Another iteration is sure to pop up sometime. Now its time for ribs!
These ribs are simple and only require a few ingredients:
Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Cut the ribs up. I like individual ribs so you get more surface area on the grill.
Put the ribs in a pot and add a liberal amount of bourbon, at least an ounce or 2. cover with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to simmer for 2.5 hours. It's long, but it makes the most tender, moist ribs I've ever had. Once fully cooked drain the ribs and cover in BBQ sauce. I let the ribs marinate for a day in the fridge but an hour should do it. Fire up the ol' charcoal grill and throw some applewood chips on. I usually use dry chip but this time I soaked them in water for about 30 minutes. This way I could slowly cook the ribs to add a deep smoke flavor. They take about 30-45 minutes to smoke then they are ready to eat. At this point the ribs will look so good you might forget to take a picture of them showing how good they look. Such was the case with my ribs so I am sorry to say, there is no final product, again. Rest assured, I will make them again and pictures will be taken!
So that's how you make delicious Applewood Smoked Pork Back Ribs with Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce. Now here is a picture I drew of a skeleton pirate with an eyeball for a head.