Are you ready for grilling season? Technically, I could say it's always grilling season as I've been known to even clear a path in the snow to get to my grill but now that the weather is warming up, our grill is being used 2-3 times a week. To be honest, a lot of the time it's just grilling some hot dogs for the kids but I still try and grill some fun stuff more and more during the summer.
I had some guys from church over a few weeks ago to learn about some grilling techniques as well as smoking, brining and dry aging. It was fun to learn some new techniques for myself as well as see some guys gain the courage to master their own grills. For that activity, I wrapped some fresh asparagus in some thick cut bacon and grilled it until crisp. For something that's so easy to make, it's always a hit and of course there's never enough, no matter how many I make.
One of my favorite things on the grill though is ribs. And while I usually prefer beef over pork for other things, pork ribs just always seem better to me. The problem with ribs though is that I've found they tend to get dry when you grill them. You can cook them in the crock pot which makes them so easy and perfectly cooked but then you don't get that great caramelized sauce and crispy little chunks of meat.
So what do you do to get perfect ribs? You combine both methods! You start off with a dry rub and let them cook on low in the crock pot for a few hours. Then you remove them, slather on some sauce and grill them just until the sauce is caramelized. Results are perfectly tender meat that just falls off the bone but still has a great crisp on the outside.
Blackberries are also back in season and I came across this amazing sauce. I added some spicy peppers which resulted in a perfect sweet and spicy combination. If you can't find any fresh blackberries, you could also use some frozen ones. Make sure you've got a fine mesh sieve, or else you're going to have blackberry seeds all throughout the sauce. I cooked two slabs of ribs for Mother's Day this year and then had some leftovers to bring to work in my lunch afterwards. They heat up great, even in the microwave!
Spicy Blackberry Glazed Ribsadapted from Epicurious
Your choice of dry rub
2 slabs of pork ribs
2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries or frozen, thawed
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 fresh or rehydrated Puya or Gaujillo chilies
Rub the ribs generously with the dry rub and place them in the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
For the sauce, combine the blackberries, ketchup, honey, ginger, vinegar and chilies in a blender and puree. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a small pan.
Cook over medium heat until the mixture is reduced to about 1 cup, stirring frequently.
Brush the sauce liberally over the cooked ribs.
Place the ribs on a hot grill and cook for a few minutes on each side, just until the sauce caramelizes, flipping once. Serve with any remaining sauce.