Spareribs and citrus don’t seem like a match made in barbecue heaven, but think about it. The acid in the citrus is a counterpoint to the rich fat of ribs, turning them from something slathered and gooey to something clean and spare. We finish them with a thin, spicy bourbon syrup just to make sure your fingers get sticky.
Indirect heat, medium (325° to 350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill – middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill – 1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
2 racks ribs, about 4 pounds, St. Louis cut spareribs or baby back ribs
2½ cups Spicy Citrus Brine
Oil for coating grill grate
1 cup Hot Pepper–Bourbon Syrup.
1. Cut the racks in half. Put them in a gallon-size zipper-lock bag with the citrus brine. Seal the zipper, leaving about an inch open; push on the bag to release any trapped air through the opening, and close the zipper completely. Massage the liquid gently into the meat and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
2. Heat the grill as directed.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the ribs on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ribs registers about 155°F, about 1 hour. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F.
4. Brush the ribs with the bourbon syrup during the last 10 minutes, turning and basting until all of the syrup has been used up.
5. Remove the ribs to a large platter, cut into 1- or 2-rib sections, and serve.