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BBQ Pork Ribs

One thing that is pretty typically picturesque at my place over summer, is the boys standing around our humble coal Webber BBQ on the deck, getting smoked out, watching meat cook, arms crossed with a beer tucked in the arm too. We live surrounded by thick kiwi bush and with lots of native trees around  - so if you don't get a mozzie bite (or ten) you know it's not warm enough! Growing up as a kid, we used to have a tiny little portable coal BBQ that my Dad would keep in the car over summer. I remember often going to the beach (usually Porangahau beach in Hawke's Bay) and Dad cooking sausages on it, or pūpū ('cat's eyes' shellfish) in a pot for Mum that we had collected from the rocks, cooked in seawater. Those humble little coal BBQ's have a nostalgic trump card for me and they give so much more flavour to the food than the gas BBQ's I think.

These free-range pork BBQ ribs have a sticky homemade BBQ sauce glaze. They are twice cooked, first slow-cooked in the oven in pineapple juice to get that sweet, soft and falling off the bone. Then they are basted with a spicy sticky Memphis style glaze, added to the hot BBQ to infuse with flavour and give them that crust we all want on meat (right?) Soft on the inside, the sticky and charred flavour on the outside - HECK YES!

Serves:  2-3 (with sides)

For the pork 
1.3 kg free-range pork ribs, I bought two ribs about 40cm long each
4 cups (1 ltr) pineapple juice
1 cup brown sugar

For the BBQ glaze
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic, crushed
1 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons molasses
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worchester sauce
A dash of your favourite hot sauce
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (more if you want it really hot!)
Salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 160C. Take a large roasting tray and line it with baking paper. Put the pork in the lined tray, season with salt, pour the pineapple juice around and add the sugar to the juice. Cover with foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. (Make sure you pre-heat your BBQ towards the end of this step. Our coal BBQ takes about 20mins to heat)

While the meat is cooking, make the BBQ sauce. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium/high heat and when hot, add the onions and a good pinch of salt and cook off for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook until it just starts to colour, then adds the remaining ingredients. Cook for about 10 minutes until the glaze is nice and thick and glossy. Taste. Season with salt and any extra hot sauce if you want more kick! Set aside.

Once the meat is cooked and falling from the bone, remove the tray from the oven and be really careful to not break the meat apart, it is really delicate. Lift out, glaze generously with the sauce and add to a hot coal BBQ. Tuning carefully at least twice and basting as you go. The meat is already cooked, so just cook until you have the stickiness and charred amount that you like. I cooked mine for 10 minutes, as don't want the meat to dry out too much from overcooking it.

Alternatively, increase the oven to 200C Fan Grill, move the rack closer to the grill - and char under the grill for 10 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Serve with your favourite salads (a potato salad and slaw be good!) and lots of cold beer.



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