BBQ St. Louis cut pork ribs with apple mop: Hidde Zomer, Carbon Bar

You don't have to eat turkey this holiday season


Stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce… and ribs? Maybe not on your average holiday dining table, but you will probably be a hero for life if you bring these to your next family gathering. At Carbon Bar, they smoke theirs with smouldering white oak. Chef Hidde Zomer suggests using hardwood like oak or hickory for more punch. If Santa hasn’t brought you a smoker yet, a charcoal BBQ, gas BBQ, or even your oven will do the trick, though Zomer cautions these are harder to control when it comes to heat and amount of smoke.

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A slightly less involved way to bring the South to your family dinner: Zomer’s buttery, spicy cornbread, done in a cast-iron pan. The recipe is the result of endless trial and error, including picking the brains of local chefs on trips to South Carolina. “It took me so long to get the cornbread right,” he says. “Now it’s so moist.” 

If you really want to look like you’ve thought of everything, mix up some spiced butter to go on top. Zomer brought a version to our dinner that contains canned chipotle peppers, fresh jalapeños, coriander, lime zest, lime juice and a little garlic. Just mix into some softened butter and let it chill in the fridge.

BBQ St. Louis cut pork ribs

3 racks of side ribs (ask your local butcher shop to trim the ribs for a St. Louis cut)

Rub

  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder

Take the ribs out of the fridge and remove any remaining skirt, membrane or sliver skin from the ribs.

Drizzle on some olive oil and rub it in with your hands.

Sprinkle the rib spice mix all over both sides of the ribs and place them in the smoker, oven or BBQ. The temperature should be a constant 250°F to 275°F. Make sure to keep adding wood chips, splinters or logs (if applicable) during this process, and keep an eye on how the ribs are progressing every 30 minutes or so.

A good rib should still have some pull and not just fall off the bone. When you think they’re close to being done, remove one of the racks and check its doneness by piercing the meaty part between the bones with a small knife. They should have a nice golden-brown colour and smell smoky and inviting.

You can apply your mop (see recipe below) or sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking this helps keep the ribs moist and adds acidity and flavour.

Wrap the ribs in tinfoil and let them rest for 15 minutes in a warm spot.

When serving, cut the ribs with the back of the ribs facing up. This lets you see where to cut and prevents tearing the meat or catching your knife on the bones.

Apple mop (optional)

  • 7 Royal Gala apples
  • 2 onions
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • 1 head garlic
  • 15 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp each cinnamon bark, cloves, black pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp each chili flakes and cayenne
  • 4 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 quarts cider vinegar
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • 3 cups honey
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 or 7 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Dice the apple and onion in large cubes.

Place all ingredients in a large pot and let it simmer. Reduce by a third.

Strain the mop through metal chinois, pushing as much of the pulp through as possible.

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