Friday, June 03, 2005

Gonzo's Magic Ribs

Okay, here's the final secret to "Gonzo's Series" of ribs. Learn this trick and you'll be the envy of all your friends! Can I let you in on a secret? If you don't have a grill, they're really darn good just in the oven under the broiler! While I firmly believe that on the grill over mesquite chunk wood is best, you can still make darn good ribs in your kitchen.

  • 1 or more slab(s) pork ribs (I prefer St. Louis cut, but baby backs are good to!)
  • Gonzo's magic rub
  • Gonzo's magic sauce
On the underside of the ribs will be a thin, tight, white "membrane" that I like to remove. You can keep it on if you want, but it doesn't bring any flavor and makes the ribs just a little more chewy to eat. I remove it myself by grabbing it with a paper towel (for grip) and just pulling it off. It's easy to do, but you can ask your butcher to do it for you (which is a good idea if you've never seen it done so you can learn how).

Place the ribs on top a large piece of alumninum foil, that itself is set on a baking dish large enough to hold the ribs. Generously spread Gonzo's Magic Rub all over the ribs on all sides, and rub it into the meat(*). Close the ribs in the alumninum foil and place them flat in the refrigerator for about four hours.

After the ribs have been absorbing the goodness of the rub, remove and take them to a grill of about 450 degrees(**). Remove from the aluminum foil and place the ribs on a alumninm foil tray to capture all the yummy drippings (for the Gonzo's Magic Sauce recipe). Cook for about 20 minutes covered under the grill, checking every 5 minutes to make sure the grill is not too hot and burning the meat. Move the meat on the grill as needed to promote even cooking.

After 20 minutes, remove the ribs from the foil tray with drippings and place them directly on the grill. Continue to cook the ribs until they have an internal temperature of about 160 degrees.

After the ribs are to temperature, remove from the grill and place on the serving platter (I use a really big wooden cutting board for presentation). Drizzle the ribs with Gonzo's Magic Sauce and let the ribs rest for about 3-5 minutes before cutting them.


(*) Some folks argue about this one and say that you don't rub it into the meat. I say, then why is it called a "rub" ???

(**) Other folks would say this is too hot and we should cook the ribs "low and slow" to get the best ribs. Well, I love "low and slow" but sometimes I just don't want to wait that long for ribs. This is a method of faster cooking that, while it takes a good long sit in the refrigerator, does not take nearly as long active time to cook. That's why these are "magic" ribs!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Gonzo's Magic Sauce

Here it is, the sauce that compliments the rub! This is by far my favorite BBQ sauce. I'm pretty much revealing a trade secret here... it's great on ribs!

  • 1 12-oz can salt-free tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce (optional, season to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Gonzo's Magic Rub (see below, season to taste)
  • 3 tsp honey
  • Drippings from whatever you are barbecuing...


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and set on low heat, stirring frequently. The "drippings" from barbecue can be gathered by placing some aluminum foil under the meat while it is slowly cooking... about 20 minutes worth will be enough, but the more the better! Then simply pour these drippings into the saucepan.

Continue to cook under low to medium heat--you will want to get the sauce up to just at a simmer and then reduce the heat to hold it at that temperature. Once it gets here, watch it constantly to keep it from burning. Reduce to a very thick sauce.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Gonzo's Magic Rub

Great barbecue begins with a great rub. There are many different styles of rubs, usually named by a series of numbers like 4-4-4-4, or, like this one, 8-3-1-1.

Each number represents a part of measurement. It's 8-3-1-1 for brown sugar - kosher salt - chili powder - miscellaneous. Literally, the last "1" part can change depending on your mood. Here's a mix that I've found has worked great for me on pork, beef, and chicken.

  • 8 parts brown sugar
  • 3 parts kosher salt
  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1/4 part minced garlic
  • 1/8 part dried basil
  • 1/8 part dried oregano
  • 1/4 part paprika
  • 1/4 part finely ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a dry mixing bowl and mix it together very well. I find that a fork works well to break apart the brown sugar to combine it with the other spices.

Apply it very liberally to beef, chicken, or pork and let it rest in a refrigerator for at least an hour (overnight is better) and then grill it up on low heat.

Free Subscription to Food Arts Magazine