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Spicy Grilled Ribs

Spicy Grilled Ribs

Most people consider ribs to be beer food. But a flavorful, spicy red wine laced with dark fruit flavors mirrors the personality of the sauce in this dish. Some Zinfandels aged in new oak barrels taste a little smoky in their finishperfect for grilled foods. For an all-American barbecue, serve with coleslaw and corn bread. For a Latin touch, serve with black beans and corn on the cob rubbed with chili powder and lime. Dependable: Zinfandel from the United States. Daring: balanced white Zinfandel or other off-dry rosé.

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks baby back ribs, about 4 lb. total
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar or 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 Tbs. dry mustard
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Rub the ribs evenly with the chili powder, salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake until very tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a saucepan, stir together the ketchup, vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, mustard, cumin, ginger and cinnamon. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are well blended, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a broiler.

Season the ribs lightly with salt and pepper and place on the oiled grill rack or on an oiled rack in a broiler pan. Brush liberally with some of the sauce. Grill or broil until caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn, brush with additional sauce, and cook on the other side until crusty and caramelized, about 8 minutes more.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut the ribs apart. Arrange on a warmed platter and serve. Pour the remaining sauce into a small bowl and pass at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Food & Wine Pairing, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1999).