This is a Japanese
version of the grilling classic from the American South, which we promise will be
just as bone-sucking good as the ribs you'll find in a Memphis pit barbecue. Instead
of the traditional slow and low (temperature) method for ribs, with this recipe
you braise the ribs unitl they're tender, then grill. This way, you'll get both
fall-off-the-bone tenderness and nice caramelization and char; in other words, rib
nirvana. Save the braising liquid; it cooks down into a phenomenal barbecue sauce.
2 racks baby
back ribs (about 5 to 6 pounds)
1 whole unpeeled
bulb garlic, halved horizontally across the mid-section
1 medium Spanish
onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot,
1/2 cup tomato
1 cup sake
2 Tbs. rice
1/4 cup soy
3 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. red miso
1 Tbs. tobanjan
1 tsp. whole
1 Tbs. sesame
seeds, for accent
Cut each rack
of baby back ribs in half, which will yield 4 portions of 5 to 6 ribs each.
To a large stockpot,
add the ribs, 6 cups water, garlic, onion, carrot, tomato puree, sake, rice vinegar,
soy sauce, sugar, miso, tobanjan, and peppercorns and bring to a boil over high
heat so the liquid gently simmers.
Remove any scum
or oil that floats to the surface.
Cover the pot
and cook until the ribs become tender, about 1 hour.
Remove the ribs
from the pot and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid.
To make the
marinade, bring the cooking liquid to a boil over high heat and boil until it reduces
by half and becomes syrupy.
the heat and allow the liquid to come to room temperature.
liquid to the jar of a blender, cover, and pulse until smooth, about 1 minute.
Pass the liquid
through a fine-meshed strainer suspended over a large bowl and discard any solids
caught in the strainer.
Set the marinade
Preheat a grill
Grill the ribs
for about 4 minutes, flipping once.
When the ribs
are browned and sizzling, brush the marinade on top.
Grill for about
2 more minutes, flipping 2 or3 times, and brushing on more marinade after each turn.
Let the ribs
rest for 2 minutes.
sesame seed and serve.
is a Japanese paste of fermented soybeans and chiles. It is available in Asian markets,
as is red miso.