The high today is supposed to be 80ºF here in North Carolina. It feels like summer. So I’m thinking, let’s fire up the grill! But wait, pumpkins are in-season, maybe I should make a pumpkin pie?
Why can’t I enjoy both at the same time? Who makes these rules anyway? Grilling is only for summer? Pumpkins are only for pie? Bah rules! They were made to be broken. This recipe is proof.
PUMPKIN SPICED BBQ RIBS
8 lbs. pork baby back ribs (remember, the key to good ribs are starting with good ribs)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
1 cup ketchup
1 cup hot water
1/2 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cloves
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the rub first. Mix the sugar, brown sugar, kosher salt, pumpkin pie spice, ground black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard and cayenne.
Put the ribs on a 12×17 baking pan, in a single layer. Coat the ribs liberally with spice mix.
Now tuck them in and say goodnight. I used foil, since they will be covered with it when I put them in the oven later. It just makes life easier.
Refrigerate them over night or for at least 8 hours.
Next, preheat the oven to 275ºF. Take the covered ribs and bake 4-5 hours or until the rib meat is so tender that it’s practically falling off the bone.
About an hour before the ribs are ready to come out of the oven, you can start making the sauce.
Heat the ketchup and Dijon in a pot over medium heat.
Stir until well blended.
Next, mix in water and tomato sauce,
the pumpkin purée,
honey, paprika and cloves.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
Now you’re ready to go to work basting those lovely, fall off the bone ribs.
Preheat your grill for low heat. This part of the recipe is not about cooking, it is about basting. So you don’t need much heat, just enough to heat the sauce and coat the ribs.
NOTE: These ribs are so tender once they come out of the oven they will easily fall apart. If you want them to stay together while grilling, just be very careful when turning them over. Or, you could just cut them in half before you throw them on the grill.
I don’t know what to say other than…you’re going be pleasantly surprised. So much so, that you will not be able to stop going back for more. OK, so they might only serve one.