Rabbi's Ribs



Adapted from Steven Raichlen, Best Ribs Ever (Workman)

Over the years, I’ve heard from numerous grill jockeys who don’t eat pork for a variety of reasons. Well, these meaty beef bones are for you. The recipe features a technique not seen elsewhere in the book: brushing the ribs with fresh garlic oil to add an extra layer of flavor before applying the rub. Combine this with a pugnacious peach and horseradish barbecue sauce and you’ve got ribs designed to give anyone a religious experience.


2 cloves garlic, peeled and pureed in a garlic press
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 to 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
2 to 3 tablespoons Sweet Smoky Barbecue Rub (recipe follows)
1 can (12 ounces) Cel-Ray soda or cream soda (optional)
Peach Horseradish Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

You’ll also need:
4 cups wood chips or chunks (preferably hickory or oak), soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained; barbecue mop or spray bottle (optional)

METHOD: Smoking in a charcoal grill


Place the garlic and oil in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Brush this garlic oil on both sides of the ribs. Sprinkle both sides of the ribs with Sweet Smoky Barbecue Rub, patting the garlic and spices onto the meat. Cover the ribs with plastic wrap and refrigerate them while you set up the grill.

Place the Cel-Ray soda, if using, in a bucket or bowl for mopping or pour it in a spray bottle.

Set up a charcoal grill for smoking (see page 33) and preheat to low (225° to 250°F), using half of the number of coals you would normally grill with. Place a large drip pan in the center of the grill under the grate.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the ribs bone side down in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat. Toss 1 ⁄ 2 cup of wood chips on each mound of coals. Cover the grill and cook the ribs for 1 hour.

Mop or spray the ribs on both sides with the Cel-Ray soda, if using. Re-cover the grill and continue cooking the ribs until well browned, cooked through, and tender, 3 to 4 hours longer, 4 to 5 hours in all. If using the Cel-Ray soda, mop the ribs once an hour. Add 1 cup of wood chips after each of the first three hours of cooking and replenish the coals every hour.

Transfer the ribs to a large platter or cutting board and let rest for a few minutes. Serve the ribs at once with the Peach Horseradish Barbecue Sauce on the side.


Yield: Serves: 4

Sweet Smoky Barbecue Rub (Makes about 1 1/4 cups)
Here's a good all-purpose barbecue rub based on a classic American rub that you can customize by adding smoked paprika or smoked salt. These ingredients help deliver a smoky flavor, even if you're using a gas grill. If you're grilling with wood or charcoal, they reinforce the smoke flavor even more. Smoked paprika is a newly fashionable (but not new) ingredient from Spain, sold by the name of pimentón de la Vera. If all this sounds too fussy, use regular kosher salt and sweet paprika.

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
2 tablespoons hickory-smoked salt, or more coarse salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (see Note), or more sweet paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed

Place the brown sugar, sweet paprika, coarse salt, smoked salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, onion powder, mustard, and celery seed in a bowl and mix with your fingers, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar, garlic powder, or mustard with your fingers. Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat or light; it will keep for several weeks. Plan on using 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of rub per rack of baby backs; more for larger racks of ribs.

Note: Pimentón de la Vera comes in sweet, semisweet, and hot versions. All will work in this rub – choose the one that suits your taste best.

Peach Horseradish Barbecue Sauce (Makes about 1 cup)
This sauce owes its brassy fruit flavor to peach preserves and its heat to freshly grated horseradish. And freshly grated horseradish owes its heat to a sulfuric compound that is released when the root is cut and comes in contact with the air. Thus, the finer you grate the horseradish, the hotter the sauce. If necessary, you could use prepared horseradish, but the sauce won't have quite as much bite.

1/4 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup bourbon
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more to taste
1 piece (2 inches) fresh horseradish, peeled (for about 2 tablespoons finely chopped)

Place the peach preserves, mustard, bourbon, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce in a heavy non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually bring to a boil, whisking the ingredients until smooth. Lower the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer gently until thick and richly flavored, 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely grate the horseradish on a box grater or finely chop it in a food processor.

Remove the sauce from the heat and let cook until warm, then stir in the horseradish. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and more soy sauce if necessary. The sauce can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week. Let it return to room temperature before using.

To cook the Rabbi’s Ribs in a smoker: Set up and light the smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to low (225° to 250°F). Place the ribs in the smoker bone side down and smoke until cooked through, 4 to 5 hours. Start mopping the ribs with the Cel-Ray soda, if using, after 3 hours, then mop them again once every hour. You’ll need to replenish the wood chips or chunks after each of the first three hours of smoking and to replenish the coals every hour.

TIPS: I call for meaty beef short ribs here, but you could also use plate-burying beef long ribs. In that case, you’ll want a 2 1 ⁄ 2- to 3-pound rack of long ribs. These can be smoked low and slow at 225° to 250°F for 4 to 5 hours or grilled using the indirect method at 325° to 350°F for 11 ⁄ 2 to 2 hours. In either case, if the ribs start to dry out before they’re done, wrap them in aluminum foil halfway through. Served at Jewish-style delicatessens, Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray is a celery-flavored soda. It’s available at many delis. If you can’t find it or cream soda, you can also substitute Sprite or ginger ale. The recipe calls for smoking the ribs in a charcoal grill, but the ribs can also be cooked in a smoker.

Recipes: Meat, Beef, Ribs, Grilled, Kosher

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