I always splurge when I see ribs on sale. Unless we are on an über mission, I will get those ribs. We may not eat them today, or even tomorrow, but they will be delicious when I do.
Okay so you can guess that I found ribs on sale by now can you not? We have done the sweet sauces alot. Pork and sweet, just a winning combination. But what about something with a little more kick. That’s where Szechwan comes in. I didn’t have quite the right ingredients for everything, but I made it work, and those ribs were delicious and spicy. They also came with a life lesson.
Set your chosen wood chips to soaking (I used black cherry) and light your charcoal. While waiting for the charcoal bring the ribs out of the fridge, allowing them to come to room temperature. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. I also suggest boiling the kettle and filling the water basin for your smoker a few times from the kettle. This will have the water to temperature faster and require less charcoal to get the smoker up to heat.
Coat the ribs generously in your favourite rub. I used a combination of Bone Dust and brown sugar with a hint of garlic powder.
When the charcoal is ready, set up the smoker grill and lay your ribs on the grids directly above your water basin. Put on the lid and toss in the wood chips.
Smoke the ribs for 3 to 5 hours, checking every 30 minutes on the chips and the charcoal. Try to keep the temperature steady at about 200°F to 220°F.
When your ribs are nearly done, you can begin the sauce. Boil the garlic and red chilies in the water for 5 minutes. Drain the chilies from the water, but keep the water aside for later use.
Grind the chilies and garlic into a paste. When working with chilies of any kind you should always wear protective gloves.
Add the sesame oil to a wok or sauce pan and begin to heat it. When the oil is hot enough that water sizzles on contact, add the ginger, 2 tbsp. of the garlic that was earlier set aside, and the onions. Stir-fry until the onions are transparent. If you feel the garlic is burning, turn the heat down a little.
Add the chili paste and continue stir-frying for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Dissolve the flour in in 2 tbsp. of water that was set aside earlier. Add the paste, the remaining chili water, the rice wine vinegar, and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil, and stirring continuously, allow it to thicken. Once thickened, remove it from the heat and use or store in an airtight glass container.
When the ribs are done smoking, carefully break down the grill and set up for charcoal grilling. Your coals should still be hot, but if not, add a new load of freshly lit charcoal. Preheat the grill to 400°F.
Sear the ribs on both sides, basting liberally with the Szechwan sauce you just made.
These ribs were delicious, but came with a lesson (highlighted in red). But when you see your favourite foods on sale, I strongly suggest you get it. You may find use for it in surprising ways.
I would also like to note that I would not be able to get as much smoking done as I have recently without the help of my husband, who has been helping with the lifting, monitoring and cleaning of the grill. It is hot and heavy when you are using a full water basin.