Smoke & Spice and Everything Nice

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Okay, before you read any further, I must admit something. These ribs were made with an electric smoker…yes…I plug my smoker in. I do not work and fumble and get my charcoal just right, I just plug it in. So, if you are offended by that, if you think that I have committed barbecue blasphemy, then maybe you should stop reading now. But for the rest of you, read on, because these babies were so good!

The recipe from these ribs comes from my favorite smoking book, Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. What I love about this book is that it includes instructions for people who use an electric water smoker, most books only give instructions for those using charcoal. My smoker is a Brinkman and even though it was relatively inexpensive (under $100), it has lasted, and continues to make fabulous food.

Thai-phoon Baby Backs
(from Smoke & Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison)

1 1/2 cups curshed pineapple form a 20-ounce can
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce, preferably, or soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 stalks lemongrass, chopped

2 slabs baby back ribs, preferable 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each

Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 stalk lemongrass, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
remaining canned crushed pineapple
3/4 cup white or cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red chile flakes
1 to 2 tablespoons minced cilantro (optional)

At least 2 hours before or preferably overnight, puree the marinade ingredients in a food processor. Marinate the ribs.

At this point, how you proceed depends on your kind of smoker and the book goes into very nice details on this. I took the ribs out about 30 minutes before I was ready to smoke, to bring them to room temperature. While, they came to room temperature, I prepared my smoker. They smoke for 3 hours, and with an electric water smoker, I don’t mop or baste them. When they’re finished, let them rest for 5 – 10 minutes and then eat!!!

This was the first time I had made the dipping sauce, and it was wonderful! The meat was so tender, it was easy to pull it off and dip it in the sauce. The dipping sauce could be used with all kinds of other grilled or roasted meats. As I was eating it, I was thinking that it would be a great sauce to serve along side a roasted pork tenderloin, which I think is pretty bland without a nice sauce. As a matter of fact, this whole recipe would probably be good with a pork tenderloin.

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