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Monday, July 11, 2011

Smoked Ribs with Pacific Rim Mop

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend some time in Lake Tahoe at a friends mountain home, everyone needs a place to get away, and this is Rob's place to go hide from the world and think. This past weekend, we thought about ribs, slow smoked and tender.
 I even got to cook on a Big Green Egg, Rob has a large BGE at his Tahoe retreat and this was the first chance I had to cook on one of these. They have become increasingly popular, even as they are quite pricey for many of us, I can really see why they are so popular. This cooker is very responsive, very stable on temperature and used very little fuel. It was a real treat.

I decided to continue playing with my original idea of Pig Honey, but, to throw a few more elements into the recipe. Even more so, cooking with Rob ends up being a collaboration.  We started with extra meaty baby back ribs, stripped the membranes and rubbed with Simply Marvelous Cherry Rub. This is a classic sweet and spicy BBQ rub, a little more on the sweet side, but, that was perfect for my plans.

Now, here is where things get a little more exotic, not super exotic, just a little more. After putting the ribs on the BGE, with some lump charcoal and a few pieces of apple wood for smoke, I made some modified Pig Honey, in this case, to be used as a mop and glaze. The overall flavor range would be dominated by the savory additions of fish sauce and liquid amino acids along with some seasonings, including an incredible pepper blend called Mayan Pepper Blend. This features some old pepper varieties grown in Belize, hand harvested, roasted over open fires and flaked. This mix has an amazing smoky pepper aroma and quite a bite.
Pacific Rim Rib Mop
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of Red Boat Fish Sauce
1/4 cup scant of Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon of smoked pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Phu Quoc black pepper
1/8 cup brown sugar

The last five ingredients were brought to a low simmer to dissolve sugar. The heat was turned off and the fish sauce added. This was used to mop the ribs at the 2 hour mark, then it was mopped every half hour until done.

The last two moppings were also dusted with a finely grated palm sugar, to create a glaze. The palm sugar is actually a product of a form of Palmyra palm, although sugar from other palms is often used as well. We used the refined version of this sugar, which comes in the form of small, hard cones which need to be softened or ground prior to use. I chose to grind it into a fine powder, which I then sprinkled onto the ribs as they were mopped with the mop sauce.

The photo above shows the glaze effect pretty well, but, both racks actually had a great shine and the flavor was incredible. More importantly, they has in incredible depth of flavor, with the Mayan peppers ringing through with bright heat, and the palm sugar and residual sugar from the mop providing a balancing sweetness. The aromatic combination of all of these elements was just enticing, no other word works to describe it.


  1. Oh dear, fish sauce and palm sugar. It sounds like claypot meat on a grill. And here I'm stranded on a mountain with no food within walking distance at midnight...
    By the way, could you set it so that your blog allows comment from any blog (the Name/URL option), please?

  2. Will do, I had no idea it was not set that way. Thanks Mai.

  3. Those ribs were excellent - I will be using a mop like this more in the future. It was fun having you up for a visit.