This is one of those recipes gone awry that ended up with a happy ending. I was playing around with steak sauces and had some red wine left over from the Red Wine Steak Sauce + New York Strip post. I started building another sauce and it seemed to take on it’s own direction. The addition of adobo from a can of chipotles and some molasses sent it off in a decidedly BBQ direction (though, it’s still an amazing steak sauce).
The flavor is rich and deep plus it still has a nice acidity level with just enough spice that I think it should be paired with really beefy cuts of meat… or a really good thick rib eye. The consistency is somewhere between a thick barbecue sauce and a steak sauce.
I went to the butcher with thoughts of short ribs. He happened to have rib steaks on sale and consequently had some beautiful racks of beef back ribs in the case at a great price. Maybe it’s my years in Texas, but there is nothing better than smoky, slow-cooked, juicy beefy back ribs and this sauce was going to be the perfect counterpoint.
I keep some of my Cowboy Coffee Rub on-hand which I used to dust the beef bones and then slow-cooked the with smoke from a combo of mesquite and pecan chips for about 3 hours until the meat had shrank back and the meat was falling off the bone tender. The coffee in the rub enriches the beef flavor; if you don’t want to make the rub, add a couple tablespoons of instant coffee to your favorite all-purpose bbq rub.
Before you start in on the BBQ thang, I know and agree that slow cooked, smoked barbecue is AWESOME when cooked with hardwood charcoal, but sometimes convenience wins out. If you prefer, you can make these ribs and follow the directions for smoking in the recipe for Texas Bar-B-Que Ribs.
- 2 racks (8 bones each) meaty beef back ribs
- ⅓ cup Cowboy Coffee Rub or your favorite bbq rub
- Bold Beef Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows
- Smoker boxes, for gas grills
- Combo of mesquite and pecan wood chips, soaked in water for 1 hour
- Make BBQ sauce.
- Cut racks in half for easier maneuverability and place on a sheet pan. Generously sprinkle Cowboy Rub over both sides of the ribs and let sit at room temperature for an hour or longer in the refrigerator to cure.
- Set up grill for indirect cooking over medium low heat. Place a dip pan below where the ribs will sit. Be sure you have a full tank of gas! Place soaked wood chips in smoke box(es) and turn the burner under the box to high. When the chips start to smoke, set up grill for indirect cooking over low-medium heat (around 275°F or as low as it will go and keep the wood chips smoking).
- Place the ribs bone-side down over the drip pan and close the cover. If you are short on room or cooking more than one or two racks, shingle the ribs on top of each other. After an hour of cooking, add another handful of chips to the smoke box. Cook about 3 hours or until tender and meat has shrunk back from the ends of the bone by about ½ inch.
- About 15 minutes before ribs are done, turn the heat up to medium. Place the ribs meat-side down over the fire and cook for a couple minutes to crisp them up and render any remaining fat. Generously brush with sauce. Return the ribs meat-side up to the indirect side of the grill and brush on more sauce. Cover grill and cook an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove ribs to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let ribs rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting into individual bones. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
- 12 ounce jar chili sauce - I used Heinz
- ½ cup red wine
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 5 tablespoons molasses
- 1½ tablespoons Chipotle adobo
- 1 teaspoon Dijon
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 4 pieces
- Stir to combine all of the ingredients, except the butter. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture has thickened to the consistency of BBQ sauce; stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in butter one piece at a time until incorporated.
- Sauce can be made in advance and will keep in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for a couple weeks.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!