Rib Sticking Good

Honey and Cayenne Glazed Ribs
 As much as I hate to admit it, Mr. B and I are creatures of habit and for as long as I can remember, he's been making ribs the same way. There really wasn't a good reason for him to toy with his recipe, after all, perfection really is perfection. So, it was came with complete and utter surprise when Mr. B casually mentioned that he was "ready to try something else."

Let me preface this story by saying that Mr. B's regular, old school rib recipe is so good that it's not only legendary for its taste, but for the time consuming and unique method that he went about assembling and cooking the ribs, finishing them by wrapping them tightly in aluminum foil and placing them in a paper bag, tightly folded, so they could 'rest' in their own goodness. While I'll readily admit that I'm keen for adding a bit of exaggeration to a narrative, I'm not elaborating when I say that people would drive from far and wide to eat Mr. B's ribs.

Yeah. They're that good.

There was another problem with Mr. B changing course. I spent the best years of my life developing the 'perfect' BBQ sauce to compliment his ribs and if he was changing the game, it meant that I had to change my ways, too.

So, there we were, a fresh rack of ribs between us. It was a blank canvas, a chance to embrace a different path, the sign of new beginnings, and hopefully, a good meal. Mr. B went simple--plenty of garlic, salt and pepper, and a good oil massage. There was no paprika, cumin, brown sugar or any of the other many spices that he usually used in preparing his ribs. And, on my end, I decided to forge into 'mop' territory and made what I considered to be between a true mop and a lacquer.

Smoked low and slow over pecan wood, the ribs were tender and flavorful and when Mr. B lifted the lid to swab on the last of my sauce and the sun caught the deep mahogany sheen, Mr. B yelled for me to get the camera.

I guess some things never change.

New School Ribs
1 large rack of ribs, cleaned; silver skin removed
5-6 garlic cloves, ground into a paste
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

1. Massage the oil into the ribs.
2. Rub the ribs with the garlic and salt and pepper.
3. Cook low and slow over hot coals and pecan wood.
4. Once the ribs begin to brown, start slathering on thin layers of the 'mop' and continue to build up the layers every 5-8 minutes until the ribs are sticky and glazed and the meat is cooked.

Mel's Mop/Lacquer
1 cup of vinegar
1/4 cup of catsup
2 tablespoons of yellow mustard
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1-2 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 cup of honey
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1. In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the vinegar, catsup and mustard to a boil.
2. Boil for 3-4 minutes to reduce slightly, then lower the heat and add the spices, honey and maple syrup.
3. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
4. Cool slightly before using.


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