Brandy mango BBQ ribs

This is an all new, original recipe and I’m pretty excited about how it turned out.  The idea started to come together as I was doing the grocery shopping last week and I came across some organic pork ribs that looked too good to pass up.  They were not in my meal plan or on the list,  but sometimes you just have to go off script.  Then I saw that mangoes were on special again (its the height of the season these days) and the plan started to take shape.  That evening, I must have scanned through a hundred rib recipes. Without settling on any of them, one did stand out: Bourbon BBQ ribs.  But I didn’t have bourbon and I didn’t like the idea of using store bought ketchup.  I did, however, have brandy, and putting together a ketchupy chutney using mangoes seemed like the perfect fit.

Here’s what I came up with:

Serves 4

  • 3 full racks of pork ribs, each cut in two
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Ataulfo mangoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 fresh sprigs of thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp pickling spices, tying them in a cheese cloth is an option if you don’t want to crunch down on the seeds
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cidar vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tbsp worschestershire sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp or more espelette pepper, depending on how hot you like it
  • 1 bay leaf

Heat the oil in an oven-proof pot that will fit all the ingredients and the ribs.  Saute the onions for about 10 minutes, then successively stir in all the other ingredients except for the ribs.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  During this time, heat the oven to 325º.

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Generously salt the ribs and put them into the pot, pushing them into the ketchupy chutney.  Cover the pot and put it into the oven.  Let the ribs braise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tender but not falling apart.  The ribs can be prepared in advance up to this point.  Separate the ribs from the sauce and keep them covered or refrigerate them if you plan on having them the next day.  Bring them back to room temprature before finishing them off either in the oven or on the grill.

If you are roasting them, heat the oven to 425º and transfer the ribs to a roasting pan.  Spread a spoonful or two of sauce over each of the six rib sections and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until slightly charred in a few spots.  If you choose to finish them off on the grill, preheat the grill to medium high and then grill until heated through and slightly charred, basting with the sauce a few times. Bring the sauce to a simmer in a small pot to reduce it slightly and serve it along with the ribs.

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