This offering from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse (with some modifications) is sure to give your next barbecue some sizzle. As Emeril would say, “Bam!” Note: You can delete the whiskey if you like (but the flavor is better with it!).
1 cup Bourbon whiskey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, and minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brewed strong black Café Campesino coffee
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 whole racks baby back pork ribs, about 4 pounds, cut in half
Place the bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, Essence, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, and lemon and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the ketchup, coffee, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire, cane syrup, and hot sauce, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the bourbon and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat. With a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree on high speed until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.
Place the ribs in a large non-reactive dish and cover with the barbecue sauce. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let marinate, refrigerated, for 12 to 24 hours.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill to medium heat. Remove the ribs from the marinade, shaking to remove any excess. Place the rib sections, meaty side up, in the grill. Cover and cook until marinade starts to set, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn and baste lightly. Cover and grill until nearly cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn and baste again. Cook uncovered without basting until the sauce is thick and the ribs are completely cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard any unused marinade.
Remove from the grill and serve hot.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Adapted from New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. published by William and Morrow, 1993.