This recipe is dedicated to a friend who recently celebrated a big birthday. That friend happens to be one of only a handful of people I know personally who have actually been to Chile. Maybe he'll be kind enough to try out our recipe and let us know how it compares to the food he had while he was there.
Per Mr. Raichlen, this recipe is good for a weeknight barbecue - when you want some ribs, but don't have a lot of time to smoke them for a few hours. He claims these can be ready in as little as 15 minutes. It took a bit longer for me, but even still, it was short enough to accomplish during the week. And I don't yet (YET, I say) own a smoker or charcoal grill, so these are more up my alley. Did I mention they were very tasty??
1 large, luscious ripe red tomato - peeled, seeded, and diced, juices reserved
1 small sweet white onion, diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 jalapeo pepper, seeded and minced (for a hotter pebre, leave the seeds in), or more to taste - we used serrano peppers because we're growing those in the garden!
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
Freshly ground black pepper
About 2 pounds country-style pork ribs (see Note)
Note: Country-style ribs come both bone-in and boneless, either way, youll need about 2 pounds.
Shortly before you are ready to grill, place the tomato and its juices in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeo pepper(s), cilantro, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, but do not mix. Cover the bowl until you are ready to serve. Being the somewhat unprepared cooks that we are, we didn't have the vinegar. Personally, I think it would have MADE the pebre, but Sara disagrees.
Set up the grill for direct grilling, building a 3-zone fire, and preheat the hot zone to high. If a flare-up occurs you can move the ribs to the cooler or unlit parts of the grill. On the show, Raichlen recommended testing the temperature of the grill by placing your hand over the grilling surface and seeing how many "Mississippi's" you could count before you had to pull your hand away. For this recipe, the grill should be scorching hot, which is approximately equal to two "Mississippi's".
Generously season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper.
When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the ribs on the grill over the hot zone and on a diagonal to the bars of the grate. Cook the ribs until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side, giving each rib a quarter turn after 1-1/2 minutes to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. This is where my experience differed a bit from Raichlen's instructions. I'm not sure I had my grill hot enough, which is hard to imagine, or maybe the ribs we bought were thicker than what he was using, but my ribs took a bit longer to cook. Could have also been the other stuff on the grill.
|From left: pork ribs, zucchini, sweet potatoes.|
Transfer the ribs to a platter or plates and let rest for a few minutes. Stir the pebre well, adding more salt and/or vinegar as necessary; the mixture should be highly seasoned. Spoon the pebre over the ribs and serve at once.
As you can see, we added a few side dishes: grilled zucchini and grilled sweet potato staws. We've mentioned the sweet potato straws / fries before. They're pretty easy. Start with a whole sweet potato. We can usually get by on one for the two of us, but occasionally we'll use two, especially if they're small. Cut into long thin strips, douse with olive oil and your favorite spices (ours are garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper), and toss on the grill until those sexy grill marks start to show up. I like start them before the meat because they typically take a bit longer than whatever I'm grilling, especially pork or chicken. But in the even they do finish early, I place an oven-safe plate on the upper rack of my grill and pile them up there to keep them warm until the rest of the food is ready. This is especially helpful for the smaller fries, which tend to get burnt pretty quickly.
Hope you can find a nice Tuesday or Wednesday to give these ribs a try. Country-style pork ribs should be pretty easy to find in the refrigerated meat section at your neighborhood grocery store. If you can't find them, I'm sure there will be a friendly meat counter attendee waiting to help you. Enjoy!