One of my favorite things about Dwarves is that they know how to make some damn ribs. There’s something special about eating ribs. It’s almost like a ritual. The fall off the bone meat, the sticky fingers, the bone. I don’t know about you, but I love gnawing on the ends of the ribs while my food is settling. It’s so primal.
But sometimes you just can’t justify the trip all the way out to Ironforge. And sometimes, you work in a tavern that isn’t properly equipped to smoke things. Don’t get me wrong, the Keg has great tools! We’ve got… a spoon. At least one pan. A cup or twelve. Ya know. The essentials. But we don’t have a smoker.
So when summer comes around and the craving strikes, what do you do?? The answer, like for most other problems, is to FAKE it!
This recipe is pretty easy, but it IS a bit time consuming. We’re going to need to both chill the meat AND include bake time, so start this the night before.
So here’s what we’re trying to do. We’re going to make ribs in the oven and try to mimic the flavor that you get from smoking them. There are a few steps involved here:
The wet rub.
The dry rub.
The baking (with barbecue sauce).
Is this one a beast? Yes, but not as much as you think. Is it worth it? Oh GODS yes.
So let’s take a look at what we need.
First, get a rack of ribs. You want ribs that have a lot of good meat on them and not too much fat. So more red than white, basically. These are domestic pig ribs, as opposed to boar, cattle or kodo. For boar, double the recipe, for cattle, you want the ‘spare’ ribs and also double. For kodo… multiple everything by 10.
In the upper left dish are our spices for the dry rub, we have a chili, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. I used a whole tablespoon of chili and it came out pretty spicy, so reduce that down if you don’t like as much heat.
Next to that is a cup of yellow mustard, below that a quarter cup of tomato ketchup. The dark stuff is a quarter cup of liquid smoke. This is ONE of the ingredients that will help us get that smokey taste. The other is a secret. You’ll never guess it.
And next to that is our brown sugar, also for the dry rub.
First things first: Prep your ribs. You want to look for a silvery membrane on the back of the ribs. Some butchers remove it before you buy, some don’t. Mine did, so I can’t demonstrate. But you want to pull that off, it’ll come off like a really thin sheet of paper, or like the film on a new goblin electronic toy. Just peel that baby right off.
Now it’s time to assemble our wet and dry rubs. For the wet, combine the mustard, ketchup and liquid smoke in a bowl. Super hard, I know.
For the dry, same thing, but we’re adding the spices to the sugar. Our ultimate plan is to coat this first in the wet rub, then in the dry rub, so the wet acts like the glue to hold our dry rub on.
You may notice a dish of our secret ingredient. This is a variety of tea called Lapsang. I use it in a lot of drinks, like the Dragonsmoke. It’s not very hard to get, you can find it in the fancy tea or Pandaren section of your local store, or failing that it’s pretty cheap online. This tea has been smoked over pine, and it’s going to lend us that smoky flavor we’re looking for.
But first, let’s make sure we’re prepared for our equipment.
I’m using a roasting rack, the same kind that I use for the duck and strider and turkey and other such things. You can use any deeper tray that will allow you to lift them up a bit. As you can see, I had to cut my rack in half to fit in the roaster, and you can see one of my little grills in there as well.
As an aside, I picked up a 2 pack of these little racks, thinking I would just use them for the cookies during Winterveil and not much else. Oh man was I wrong. You can find them at your local big-box store wherever the pans and stuff are, and they’re not expensive at all. These have been so crazy useful. If you need help finding them, drop me a message and I’ll be happy to hook you up.
So! Now that we know it’ll fit, on to the next step.
Put down some cling wrap and set the ribs on them. Then generously coat both sides in the wet rub. You are going to be wrapping it in the cling wrap so make sure you have enough.
Once you have a nice layer, add the dry rub as well.
This is a pretty messy job, but it’s worth it. Plus it tastes good. Good mess! Spicy mess.
Now, wrap all this up and set it to chill overnight and up to a day.
Once they’ve had time to set and the flavors really get into the meat, it’s time to start cooking. Get your oven roaring hot, until it reads 500F/260C and while that’s happening, unwrap the ribs and stick them in the freezer for between 30-45 minutes.
At this point, we’re going to prepare our pan. Take the lapsang tea (about 2 tablespoons or 6 bags, depending on the type you got) and pour it on the bottom of the rack you’re going to use.
Put the ribs onto the rack and cover it tightly with foil. You want to keep the smoke from being able to get out.
Bake them for 30 minutes like that, then remove it, lower the heat to 250F (120C) and pour about a cup and a half of beef broth or beer into the bottom of the rack. Then re-cover and cook for another hour and a half.
At the last half hour, we’re going to work on our barbeque sauce. For this one, I picked a spicy sauce.
This sauce looks like a lot, but it’s pretty easy. Ketchup, dijon mustard, the equivalent of 3 large garlic cloves, half an onion, apple cider vinegar, molasses, Darkshire sauce and the spices. Phew. For these I chose paprika, cayenne and chili. This came out HOT, so maybe halve the cayenne.
Grate half of the onion and smoosh the garlic into it so that you have a very unflattering mess of stuff that wants very badly for you to cry.
Now, if you’re smart, you’ll take a small saucepan with a little oil and saute these up until they are nice and fragrant.
If you’re me, you’ll accidentally put the liquids into the saucepan first and have to use another pan to saute the aromatics. Whoops.
Once they’re nice and soft and smelly, move them into the pan with the rest —
Mix it up and let it simmer for a bit. Bam. Spicy barbecue sauce. Turn the heat down, put a lid on and keep working. Because it’s almost time to take the ribs out.
Ah yeah. Look at the bones coming away from the meat. Look at the gentle browning. Fel yeah, these are good. Now let’s give these babies a coat of paint.
Both sides with one coat on top…
Don’t forget the bottoms…
Then place meat up back on the racks and go under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce has time to caramelize.
Congratulations! You’re done! These are worth every moment of effort.
- 1 cup mustard
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup liquid smoke
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
Spicy barbecue sauce:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 3 Tbsp molasses
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 onion grated
- 1 tsp cayenne (reduce if you want it less spicy)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 rack ribs
- Roasting pan
- Foil or a lid that won’t let smoke out
- Lapsang tea (2 Tbsp or 6 bags)
- 12 oz of beef broth or 1 beer
- Cling wrap
- Mix all ingredients for the dry rub and set aside
- Mix all ingredients for the wet rubs and set aside
- Rinse and pat try your ribs. Remove the silver skin is present
- Measure and cut down your rack to make sure they’ll fit in your pan
- Set the ribs on cling wrap and coat with wet rub, then dry.
- Wrap in cling wrap and chill for 8-24 hours
- Preheat the oven to 500F/260C
- While preheating, put your ribs in the freezer for 30-45 minutes
- Remove the cling wrap and put the ribs on the rack with the dry tea at the bottom. Cover with foil or a lid that won’t allow smoke to escape
- Bake for 30 minutes
- Remove pan, add beer or broth and reduce heat to 250F/120C
- Bake for 1.5 more hours
- Near the last half hour, start the sauce. Combine garlic and onion in a small saucepan and saute until fragrant.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, cover and reduce heat to very low to let simmer.
- Remove the ribs, coat on both sides with two layers of sauce, and put under the broiler for 5-7 minutes until sauce is caramelized.
- Allow to cool enough to handle and enjoy!