Smoked Short Ribs with Parsley Salad and Ricotta Salata
Let’s all be clear about one thing: barbecue is pork, says Chef Michael Hudman of Hog & Hominy. We’ve had great “barbecued” other things: the Cornish game hen and the barbecued bologna sandwich from Cozy Corner BBQ, the best barbecue joint around, come to mind. Texas-style smoked beef brisket always tastes nice. But to us, barbecue is pork.
At a Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in 2012, we had the good fortune to cook the Friday lunch alongside Cozy Corner BBQ. Without a doubt, it was the highlight of our year. We were able to make new friends and taste delicious food from our peers all weekend. One dish that rocked me, and the only way that Andy will now eat short ribs, was the smoked beef short ribs by Tim Byres of Smoke Restaurant. It’s a new obsession. We served the ribs family style at a welcome party for our buddy Tien Ho’s pop-up restaurant at Hog & Hominy, and we garnished them with a salad of ricotta salata, parsley and lime.
For the pork belly rub:
- 3 Tbs. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 5 tsp. dry mustard
- 8 dried bay leaves
- 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. (6 1/2 oz./200 g) sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. (6 1/2 oz./200 g) kosher salt
For the coffee rub:
- 5 star anise
- 5 allspice berries
- 2 whole cloves
- 3 Tbs. ground coffee
- 1 1/2 tsp. peppercorns
- 1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- Pinch of kosher salt
For the short ribs:
- 4 boneless beef short ribs, about 3 lb. (1.5 kg) total
- 4 handfuls of hickory chips
For the parsley salad:
- 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4-oz. (125-g) chunk ricotta salata cheese
To make the pork belly rub, in a spice grinder, combine the dried thyme, pepper flakes, mustard and bay leaves. Pulse the grinder until a coarse powder forms. (You can do this in batches, if necessary.) Pour the powder into a bowl, add the sugar and salt and mix well. The recipe makes about 2 cups (14 1/2 oz./450 g); you will need 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) rub for the short ribs. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in a cool cupboard for up to 1 month.
To make the coffee rub, in a spice grinder, combine the star anise, allspice berries, cloves, coffee, peppercorns and cinnamon. Pulse the grinder until a coarse powder forms. (You can do this in batches, if necessary.) Pour the powder into a bowl, add the salt and mix well. The recipe makes about 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g); you will need all of it for the short ribs. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in a cool cupboard for up to 1 month.
In a bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup pork belly rub and the coffee rub. Coat the short ribs with the rub mixture and place on a platter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
An hour before you want to start smoking, soak the hickory chips in water to cover. Prepare a low fire for indirect-heat cooking in a charcoal grill; you’re aiming for 180° to 200°F (85° to 95°C).
Sprinkle a handful of the soaked hickory chips directly on the coals. Put the ribs on the grill rack to the side of the coals and cover the grill. Cook the meat in the smoke until very tender but not mushy, adding additional coals and soaked wood chips as needed to keep the temperature between 180° to 200°F and with steady, billowing smoke, about 6 hours.
To make the parsley salad, in a bowl, toss together the parsley leaves, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
To serve, thinly slice the short ribs across the grain and arrange on a serving platter. Top with the parsley salad. Using a Microplane grater, finely grate the ricotta salata over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Collards & Carbonara, by Andrew Ticer & Michael Hudman (Olive Press, 2013).