The first signs of spring are practically synonymous with the start of BBQ season. Sure, some Canadians might scoff at that remark, firmly believing that true Canadians barbecue all year ’round (even in the snow and even with it’s -40 outside) but for the less hardcore I think we can all agree that spring is when we roll out the good ‘ol Barbie again.
The excitement of warmer weather and promise of future garden parties definitely got me in the mood for barbecue. I’ve always wanted to try making a homemade BBQ sauce from scratch, so one Sunday morning I woke up, found a recipe, and made one.
My latest kitchen toy is Nespresso‘s new VertuoLine (which I’m completely obsessed with) and so I wanted a recipe that would include coffee. I mean, there’s no way such a dark rich flavour couldn’t be good in a BBQ sauce, right? I found a recipe on The Food Network for Baby Back Ribs with Coffee-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce and got to work.
Here’s how to make your own BBQ sauce too:
1 cup Bourbon whiskey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning (recipe follows below)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, and minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brewed strong black coffee like Nespresso!
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cane syrup or dark molasses
1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 whole racks baby back pork ribs, about 4 pounds, cut in half
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Place the bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, Essence, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, and lemon and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the ketchup, coffee, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire, cane syrup, and hot sauce, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the bourbon and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat. With a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree on high speed until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.
*Now here’s where things get a bit different. See below for the recipe’s original instructions for how to cook the ribs. My version will follow after*
Place the ribs in a large non-reactive dish and cover with the barbecue sauce. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let marinate, refrigerated, for 12 to 24 hours.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill to medium heat. Remove the ribs from the marinade, shaking to remove any excess. Place the rib sections, meaty side up, in the grill. Cover and cook until marinade starts to set, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn and baste lightly. Cover and grill until nearly cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn and baste again. Cook uncovered without basting until the sauce is thick and the ribs are completely cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard any unused marinade.
Remove from the grill and serve hot.
As I hinted at earlier in this post, I made this barbecue at the first signs of spring, but not when it was necessarily spring-y enough for actual BBQing. And to be honest, I recently moved and still need to buy a BBQ for the house. So what I did was pile my ribs into my little Staub and slathered every last bit of sauce I had made on the ribs. I then slow-cooked the ribs in the oven on low heat for 3 hours. You had better believe that these things were the most amazing fall-off-the-bone ribs my boyfriend says he had ever eaten. And I dont’ think he was just saying that to be nice. I’m pretty sure I saw a tear fall from his eye while eating them. And don’t be afraid to play around with this sauce! I myself added a few splashes of soy sauce, added some sugar and plaid with the levels of seasoning.
I hope you get a chance to try out your own homemade BBQ sauce this spring! It’s easier than you think. And if anything, be sure to treat yourself to Nespresso VertuoLine to step up your kitchen game in a major way. Enjoy!
Original Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993. Link to recipe on The Food Network HERE.