Dan Cooper is a chef with Weber. For more recipes, barbecues and accessories, see weber.com/IE
Dry rubs, as in this recipe, are very effective, as they can be applied just before cooking and you'll still get a flavour boost. As the rub stays on the meat, the flavour will continue to penetrate.
A smoker box, which you can buy and then fill with wood chips, will give a lovely smoky flavour to food cooked on a gas barbecue. Or add wood chunks to a charcoal barbecue.
The smoker box should last about 30 minutes. This should be long enough to give whatever you are cooking a good solid smoke flavour.
For this recipe, you're using the indirect heat set-up. That means having a safe zone of no heat under the meat, but heat on either side.
Cola brings a clever blend of sweetness and acidity. When the meat cooks and is mopped in the thick sauce, it will caramelise, giving you a sticky, dark, rich, sweet taste.
For the rub, you will need:
1 tablespoon each sea salt, smoked paprika, onion flakes or powder, chilli powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons American mustard
2 racks meaty baby back pork ribs (approx. 1.3kg)
For the basting mix, you will need:
85g unsalted melted butter
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
For the cola barbecue sauce, you will need:
240ml each tomato ketchup and cola
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons each treacle and American mustard
1 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce and chilli powder
1 First, mix all the rub ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Then, using a blunt knife, slide the tip under the membrane-like skin on the rib, lift and loosen this 'skin' until you can pull a corner of the it and slide it off entirely. Cut the rib crosswise into two halves.
2 Cover both ribs evenly with the rub, coating the meaty side more than the bony side. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3 Preheat the barbecue to 120°C, 250°F, Gas ½.
4 Add wood chunks to coals or use wood chips in a smoker box on a gas barbecue. When smoke appears, place the ribs, bone-side down, on the cooking grate with indirect heat, as explained above. Close the barbecue lid and cook for 90 minutes. Maintain temperature between 120°-150°C. Combine the butter and cider vinegar, and use this to baste the ribs a few times.
5 Meanwhile, make the cola sauce. In a pot over a medium heat, add all the sauce ingredients and bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 15 minutes to achieve 350ml of sauce.
6 After 90 minutes of cooking, lightly baste both sides of ribs with the cider-vinegar butter. Continue cooking with lid closed for another 90 minutes.
7 Generously baste the ribs with the cola sauce and cook for a further 15 minutes. The ribs are ready when the meat in the middle is tender and begins to tear.
8 Finally, lightly baste with more sauce and allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes before serving with the remaining sauce on the side.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine