Five-Spice Smoked Short Ribs With Shanghai Barbecue Sauce
The Washington Post, June 18, 2008
To make these ribs right, you’ll need a smoker and 2 cups of wood chips or chunks that have been soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained.
Grilling expert Steven Raichlen cooked the ribs in the smoker for 2 to 2 1/2 hours over low heat (250 degrees); he could have added hot coals to increase the temperature in the smoker when it came time to apply the barbecue sauce. But because he had a second grill going, he transferred the meat to the hotter grill and basted the ribs until they were a rich dark brown with a good crust.
Alternatively, he says the ribs can be cooked over indirect heat at a medium temperature (350 degrees) for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, then moved over direct heat and basted for the last 3 minutes of cooking.
4 to 6 servings
For the ribs and rub
- · 3 to 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, each 2 to 3 inches long (6 to 8 pieces)
- · 2 tablespoons sugar
- · 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
- · 1 tablespoon salt
- · 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
For the sauce
- · 1 cup hoisin sauce
- · 1/3 cup Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing) or dry sherry
- · 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- · 1/4 cup sugar
- · 2 tablespoons ketchup
- · 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar, or more to taste
- · 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- · 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
- · 2 scallions, white and light-green parts minced, plus 1/4 cup scallion greens for garnish
For the ribs and rub: Place the ribs in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the sugar, five-spice powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to mix. Generously sprinkle the rub on all sides of the ribs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes while you make the sauce and set up the smoker.
For the sauce: Combine the hoisin sauce, wine or sherry, soy sauce, sugar, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, ginger and scallions in a nonreactive medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick and rich-tasting.
Set up a smoker for direct and indirect heat; add a drip pan (add beer to the drip pan, if desired); preheat to low (250 degrees).
When ready to cook, brush and oil the grate. Toss 1 cup of the soaked and drained wood chips on the coals. Place the ribs in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat.
Cover with the smoker lid and smoke the ribs for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until they are dark brown, cooked through and tender enough to pull apart easily. Replenish the coals and wood chips as needed, using the remaining 1 cup of wood chips. When the ribs are done, the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about 1/4 inch.
Just before serving, add hot coals to the smoker to increase the temperature (to 400 to 450 degrees). Brush the ribs on all sides with the sauce and move them directly over the fire. Alternatively, the ribs can be transferred to a separate grill that is preheated to medium-high, or 400 to 450 degrees. Grill for 1 to 3 minutes per side, until the sauce is sizzling; watch carefully so the sugars in the barbecue sauce don’t burn. Transfer the ribs to a large platter and sprinkle with the 1/4 cup scallion greens. Serve with the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.
Grilling expert Steven Raichlen likes to keep low-and-slow-cooking ribs moist by using “mop sauce in a bottle.” He holds a thumb over the mouth of a bottle of beer, gives the bottle a shake and slides his thumb back to release a spray that coats the ribs from afar.
Adapted from “Primal Grill With Steven Raichlen,” his new television cooking series.