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Recipes: 'Killer Ribs: Mouthwatering Recipes from North America's Best Rib Joints'

Karen Grigsby Bates recommends Killer Ribs: Mouthwatering Recipes from North America's Best Rib Joints by Nancy Davidson in her annual roundup of summer book choices for Day to Day.

Big T’s Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

1/4 cup butter

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 1/2 cups medium onions, finely diced

1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup molasses

1 1/4 cups Canadian maple syrup

1/2 cup Jim Beam White Label bourbon

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1 1/4 cups orange juice

1/4 cup Worcestershire

1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper

3 teaspoons salt

Melt butter in a large saucepan, and add in the oil. Sauté the onions until they’re translucent. Add the vinegar, molasses, and maple syrup and stir until dissolved, then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir over medium heat until all the ingredients are well blended, and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Slather sauce on 2 slabs of ribs or serve it warm on the side.

General Cooking Tips

- Buy good-quality ribs and keep in mind that every rack of ribs is different and cooks in a slightly different way, so take the time to look after each rack individually.

- You can learn to tell when ribs are done by looking and touching. Grab the rack with tongs and twist it a bit. If the ribs are done, the meat will break away from the bone.

- Use real maple syrup in the sauce – imitations just don’t work.

Desiree Robinson’s Home-Cooked Pork Ribs

When cooking at home, Desiree Robinson recommends using an untrimmed rib, with the tip still on it, so there’s plenty of meat for the whole family and nothing goes to waste.

1 slab ribs, uncut (approximately 2 3/4 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon McCormick’s all-season salt

1/4 teaspoon Goya Adobo all-purpose seasoning

20 drops grenadine

Wash the rack of ribs with water and pat it dry. Spread out a double layer of foil, and place the rack on the foil and sprinkle it with the spices. Then, lightly drizzle the ribs with the grenadine syrup, across the entire top surface of the slab. Wrap the ribs tightly in foil and refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove when you’re ready to cook, and preheat your oven to 375 degrees – make sure it’s hot! Bake the ribs for 1 ¼ hours, take the foil off the top, and let the slab brown in the oven for 25 minutes. Then, cut ‘em and eat ‘em.

General Cooking Tips

- You can tell when the ribs are done when they pull away a little from the tip of the bone, and you can see a fifth of an inch of the bone and a fork goes into the meat easily.

- At Cozy Corner they prefer smaller ribs “from a young pig – not a piglet – but young and tender, with a delectable flavor.”

Adapted from Killer Ribs: Mouthwatering Recipes from North America’s Best Rib Joints by Nancy Davidson. Copyright © 2006, Nancy Davidson. Reprinted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved.

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Nancy Davidson