Pimm’s Cups & Pomegranate Ribs
I’ve been obsessed with making ribs ever since a brief layover in Memphis sent me and a friend into a rib reverie so powerful that we nearly missed our connecting flight. We earned a planeful of amused stares as we dashed onboard, panting, grinning and smeared with barbeque sauce.
So on Memorial Day, with three glorious days of grilling ahead, I set about making pomegranate ribs I had noticed recently over on FotoCuisine. It’s a good thing we had three full days, because Shravan managed to purchase an entire pig – four racks of ribs – enough for an entire platoon of pork eaters.
And every one of them, it seems, had a different idea on how to prepare proper ribs. Never having opened this particular Pandora’s box before, I was completely unprepared for the profusion of opinions: Dry rub or marinade? Sweet sauce or tangy? Oven or grill or both?
Of course, not a single cook in the kitchen had ever made ribs before, so in the end we threw all suggestions into the mix. We compromised on a sprinkling of spices and a quick sear on the grill, before a leisurely oven basting with an Indian-inspired pomegranate reduction.
To wash down the spicy, sticky ribs, we poured Pimm’s cups, the refreshing afternoon spritzer perfected by the British — a splash of Pimm’s in a glass of icy ginger ale and sliced peaches.
Spicy Pomegranate Ribs
1 cup POM pomegranate juice
1 tbsp pomegranate syrup (optional)
3 oz tomato paste (half a small can)
1-2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp dry mustard
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
1 rack pork baby back ribs
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp red chili powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper, ground coarsely
Preheat oven to 275.
Add all sauce ingredients except the lemon to a large saucepan, and simmer until reduced by half (double ingredients if you like your ribs really saucy). Once it’s reduced, add a squeeze of lemon. Adjust flavors to match your taste – these ratios will produce a slightly sweet sauce.
Mix all spices together, and pat over ribs on both sides. On a pre-heated grill, brown rib rack on both sides until it has good grill marks. The meat will not cook through; the searing just adds flavor.
Remove rib from grill and place on foil-covered a baking sheet. Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Baste with half the sauce, cover again, and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
When the ribs reach 160 degrees, remove from the oven and return to the grill until they’re seared on the outside. Cut first into individual ribs, and then drizzle with the remaining sauce.