Lani at Heritage Hill Farm had sent out the email that it was time to decide if we wanted a half pig for next season because they were buying the piglets and wanted to be sure that everyone who wanted one in the fall was accounted for. I went out and checked the chest freezer in the garage and there is still quite a bit of Bernie in there, so I told her we would take our chances in the fall on a half pig being left, but I did place a definite order for 3 or 4 of her free-range (and I do mean free range, watch your step!) chickens for the fall. While I was rooting around in the freezer I spotted a package of country style ribs so I grabbed it and started contemplating how would cook them. Husband is not a huge fan of barbecue sauce and I really didn't want a braise. I'm all done with braising for the season, these days all I want is something with bright flavors and I really wanted to try my new Tuscan Grill. I've been dabbling in Korean dishes for awhile now and since husband loves heat and Asian flavors I dragged out my Korean cookbooks to see if anything fit the bill. While spending a lovely birthday gift certificate at the Mobile Bookfair recently (thanks heather!) I picked up The Korean Table by Taekyung Chung and Deborah Samuels and page 93 called to me.
The recipe starts with using a Sweet Soy base that I had already made when I tried the tofu stuffed mushrooms last week, I wasn't in love with that recipe, a bit too bland for me, but I still had a ball jar full of the sauce. I decided to add some gochujang to the marinade to add a nice kick of heat. It was perfect.
Around 5:00 I lit a fire in the fireplace so that the coals would die down and the firebox would be nice and hot by the time I was ready to cook. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm when in the afternoon and then later in the day it started to get chilly. So the windows were open wide and the fire was blazing. Perfect!
I made two quick banchan, those little side dishes you get in Korean restaurants. Sadly I had no kimchi, but we did make one of our favourites the leek salad. it is a perfect sharp foil to fatty cuts of meat.
The other one was just some nice ripe on the vine mini tomatoes we had kicking around tossed in some mirin, soy and rice vinegar and I also made a pot of sticky rice in the rice cooker to go with the pork.
Listen up, right now I am going to tell you an important thing to remember when you make this recipe! Double the sauce. Double it. Just do it - these are amazing, sticky, gingery, perfect little barbecued morsels of pork. You boil the marinade and use it as a glaze and it is amazing over the rice as well.
Bernie never tasted so good.Barbecued Pork Ribs
Make the sweet soy base:
Sweet Soy Base
4 sliced cloves garlic
6 slices peeled fresh ginger
1 t black peppercorns, crushed
1c soy sauce
1/2c light brown sugar
1/4c red or white wine (I used Shaoxing)
Combine water, garlic, ginger and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Lower heat, simmer 10 minutes. Add soy, brown sugar and wine. Return to high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, allow it to cool. Strain it and store tightly sealed in the fridge.
For the ribs
Marinate 2-1/2 to 3 lbs of country style or meaty St Louis style ribs in the following mixture. (I did it for about 8 hours, but I could see overnight doing quite nicely as well). The ingredients below are for a single batch. Like I said above, I would highly suggest doubling it.
2/3 cup of the Sweet Soy base
1 apple, grated (leave the skin on, we had jazz apples
5-6 cloves of garlic minced. I used the microplane
2 T dark sesame oil
1/2 c of minced scallions (green onion)
2 TBS of peeled, minced ginger. I have a ginger grater which really breaks it down nicely. I am sure in the end I had at least 3 TBS ginger
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 TBS gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
Fire up your grill. Remove the ribs from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a pan and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Now you can use it as a glaze and as a sauce. Grill your ribs until cooked to your liking (all depends on thickness and how hot your gill is. Turn them every 5 minutes and brush with the glaze until they are cooked. Mine took about 15 minutes.
For the Leek salad:
5 - 6 leeks
2T Korean ground chili (in a pinch use Aleppo pepper if you can find that)
2T sesame oil,
2 clove garlic
1 T cider vinegar
2.5 tsp sugar
4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
In a bowl mix the chili powder, sesame oil, minced garlic, cider vinegar, sugar and sesame seeds. Season to taste with salt. Cut your leeks in half lengthwise and then across into half moons. Soak them 15 minutes in cold water. Lift the leeks off the water so the sand that has settled in the bottom is not poured on top of your leeks. Place them in a clean bowl and add the dressing. Stir well. I let these marinate for about an hour stirring occasionally. Taste them and sometimes I add more salt, vinegar or sugar depending on how potent the leeks are.