The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

May 16, 2012

The world's best BBQ started in the south

Karen Freeman

TARBORO — I love to cook. That's no surprise to anyone who knows me. However, what some may not know is that I have a special love for barbeque. It's fun and the results are delicious. There is something satisfying about filling my smoker with beef or pork and starting the process of turning that into mouthwatering barbeque. Whether you prefer beef or pork, these recipes for sauces and rubs will work. But the ingredients are important. Try not to leave things out or substitute unless you have to. However, feel free to add more "heat" as you desire. I don't make my sauces very hot.

First we have general instructions for cooking spareribs, which I totally love! However, you really must cook them low and slow or they will be tough. You want a little "chew" but you don't want them to be shoe leather.

The first recipe three recipes are wet sauces. You can mop them on and serve some on the side after the ribs are finished.

The second last two recipes are dry rubs. Put them on at least a couple of hours before cooking. You can do them a day ahead if you like. If you want the ribs to form a crust, put the rub on thicker.  

Cooking Spareribs

Place pork rib slab flat on a clean chopping board. Pull off membrane. Cut off the excess fat and meat. Season both sides of the slab with Seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Preheat your grill at 275 degrees F, using hickory wood and charcoal.

Place the slab on the grill away from the flame, using indirect heat. Cook the slab for approximately 2 1/2 hours with the curl side up. Flip the slab over to finish cooking for approximately 1 hour or until you get full "bend" in the slab.

For dry ribs: Pull ribs off grill, sprinkle Seasoning over entire slab. Cut between the bones and serve.

For wet ribs: Pull ribs off grill, pour BBQ Sauce over slab. Cut between the bones and serve.

Columbia Gold Barbecue Sauce

2 cups prepared yellow mustard (not Dijon)

2/3 cup cider vinegar

3 tablespoons tomato paste (You can substitute ketchup)

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules or 1 cube

2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon celery seed

3 teaspoons mustard powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl.

If you are using a bouillon cube, crush it with a spoon in a bowl or mortar & pestle and add it to the bowl. Crush the rosemary leaves and celery seed in a mortar & pestle or in a blender or coffee grinder and add it to the bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Let it sit for an hour in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld. No cooking necessary. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a month or more.

Amazing Rib Sauce

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon of butter or bacon grease

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup beer (any lager)

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons steak sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Hot sauce to taste (start with 2 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce for mild heat)

2 cups beef, veal, or chicken stock

Mix the paprika, black pepper, chili powder, and cumin in a small bowl.

In a one quart saucepan, melt the butter or bacon fat and gently cook the onion over medium heat until translucent.

Add the garlic, bell pepper, and the spice mix you made in the previous step. Stir, and cook for two minutes to extract the flavors.

Add the stock and the rest of the ingredients. Stir until well blended. Simmer on medium for 15 minutes. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a month or so.

East Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce

1 1/2 cups of distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon hot sauce

2 tablespoons sugar (white, light brown, or dark brown)

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

Pour all the ingredients into a jar and shake. Let it sit for at least 12 hours to allow the flavors to meld. A week is better.

You can use it as a mop when you cook, you can use it as a finishing sauce when you serve the meat, or both. In the Carolinas it is usually used as both a mop and a finishing sauce.

To use it as both a mop and finishing sauce, warm it, pour a few ounces into a cup and paint it on the meat with a basting brush once every hour or so while it is cooking. If you use it as a mop, the sauce in the cup can get contaminated with uncooked meat juices on the brush. That's why you don't want to dip the brush in the whole bottle. Discard contaminated mop and serve untouched sauce at the table.

Memphis Dust

3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup paprika

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup garlic powder

2 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons ground ginger powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 teaspoons rosemary powder

Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. If the sugar is lumpy, crumble the lumps by hand or on the side of the bowl with a fork. If you store the rub in a tight jar, you can keep it for months. If it clumps just chop it up, or if you wish, spread it on a baking sheet and put it in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes to dry out the moisture. No hotter than 250 or the sugar can burn.

For most meats, sprinkle just enough on to color it. Not too thick, about 2 tablespoons per side of a large slab of ribs. For Memphis style ribs without a sauce, apply the rub thick enough to make a crunchy crust, about 3 tablespoons per side (remember to skin and trim the back side).

To prevent contaminating your rub with uncooked meat juices, spoon out the proper amount before you start and seal the bottle for future use. Keep your powder dry. To prevent cross-contamination, one hand sprinkles on the rub and the other hand does the rubbing. Don't put the hand that is rubbing into the powder.

Massage the rub into the meat at least an hour before cooking. Even better would be to put on the rub, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate them overnight before cooking.

My Dry Rub

1 Tablespoon of Salt

1 Tablespoon of Oregano

1 Tablespoon of Cumin

2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder

2 Tablespoons of Paprika

1 Tablespoon of Onion Powder

1/4Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar (Dark for a sweeter flavor or light for less sweetness)

Chili Powder to Taste (usually about 1/4 teaspoon)

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. I use a large spice bottle that I saved after it was empty.