Binging with Babish: Freddy’s Ribs from House of Cards
Freddy: “You want seconds, Frank?” Frank: “I’d better not.” “Tell you what, Freddy…” “…yes, I will.”“I’m feeling hungry today.” Babish: So am I Frank, but not for political power, for ribs. Freddy’s ribs to be specific. Frank Underwood is from Gaffney, South Carolina. A region where they typically smoke with a mixture of oak and hickory. And in Northwestern South Carolina they use a vinegar based barbecue sauce with tomato and mustard. Now to make these ribs properly, we are going to have to take Binging with Babish to where its never gone before, the great outdoors. But before I get to play with my suburban friend’s toys, we have to make our dry rub and barbecue sauce. Start by combining 3 tablespoons of chili powder, one tablespoon of garlic powder, one tablespoon of onion powder, one tablespoon of paprika, two tablespoons of ground mustard, a tablespoon of ground cumin, if you feel like it, a tablespoon of dried oregano, a tablespoon of black pepper, a tablespoon of white pepper. Make sure not to sniff this because it smells like butts. And a teaspoon of cayenne pepper for heat. Whisk until combined into magic barbecue dust. And its time to get our stars dressed and made up for the big show. We are going to start with a step that many people forget. You can have your butcher do this for you, or you can make a small incision underneath the membrane of the back of your ribs. And using a paper towel for grip, peel it off like that awesome plastic you get on new electronics. Now its time to thoroughly dust your ribs on both sides with dry rub. Sprinkle liberally and pat down to get into all the nooks and crannies. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 14. Next up the barbecue sauce, we are making Carolina Red. Which starts off with 16 ounces of apple cider vinegar. Hey Wegman’s please sponsor me I’m from Rochester. A 16 ounce can of tomato puree, a heaping quarter cup of Wegman’s quality dark brown sugar, and a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a pinch or 2 of salt, a teaspoon of each garlic powder and onion powder, and a few glugs of Worchestershire sauce. Whisk to combine and simmer on low heat for an hour and a half, or until thick and syrupy. And don’t forget the most important ingredient, ground mustard. This is one of the essential parts of South Carolina Red. Now that our ribs are resting and our sauce is simmering, it’s time to prepare our smoker. In an egg style smoker like this one, we want to sort of create a well in the center of some lump charcoal. Into which we are going to put some vegetable oil soaked cotton balls that we are going to set alight, top with more charcoal, and start to surround with oak and hickory. Use a heat deflector like this if you got one. This prevents too much heat from hitting the ribs directly. Once the temperature inside the smoker reaches 225°F, It’s time to apply your grill grate, being careful not to squish your precious little fingers, and rack up your racks on a rack rack. Or if you don’t have one of these, you can lay them flat. And because your fingers are all ribby, have your nearest home owner close the lid for you. About every 30 minutes I’m going to baste these with barbecue sauce, and spray them down with apple juice in a spray bottle. Continue to dote over your ribs for 2 and a half to 3 and a half hours, or until the meat is extremely tender but not quite falling off the bone. Wrap and foil until ready to carve. And come to the wonderful realization that you can now eat the smells you’ve been enduring for the past 3 hours. Now these ribs were absolutely incredible, but I got really sad on my drive back to New York that I couldn’t make these at home. Or can I? No I can’t. But I can come pretty close. I don’t want to bore you with all the ingredients all over again, but this is a slightly modified dry rub that includes smoked paprika, and a slightly modified Carolina Red Sauce, that includes ketchup instead of tomato puree, yellow mustard instead of ground mustard, and about twice as much brown sugar. You can find the recipes for both versions at BingingwithBabish.com. The next few steps are similar. Boil down the barbecue sauce to a thick syrup, dust and rest your ribs with the dry rub but the difference lies in how we’re going to introduce smoke. I’m going to try two different methods here. First up, the internet sensation of wok-smoking. We are going to take a large wok, line with aluminum foil, fill with our wood chips, and heat over medium high heat until just smoking. Top with our ribs and create an air tight packet, and heat over medium heat for 10 minutes, removing from the heat and allowing it to smoke for an additional 20. In the meantime, a separate experiment on a different rack of ribs. Some smoky whisky and a few dashes of liquid smoke poured over top. And because I don’t want our wok-smoked ribs to get jealous, I’m also going to give it a whisky bath, sans liquid smoke. I’m going to place both ribs on wire racks, and wrap tightly in tin foil, placing in a 250°F oven for 2 to 2 and a half hours. Or until mostly tender. Then just like on the smoker, I’m going to repeatedly baste with barbecue sauce every 20 minutes or so. Whenever the sauce looks sticky and has lost its sheen. I’m going to continue doing this for another hour and a half to 2 hours, Until the final 10 minutes of cooking when I’m going to crank the oven up to 500°F, Putting the sticky finishing touch on my racks of ribs. I’m going to give these one final brush down with sauce. On the left we have our liquid smoked ribs, and on the right we have our wok-smoked ribs Both look absolutely beautiful. But as it is with any and all ribs, it all comes down to flavor. The liquid smoked ribs are totally delicious, and have a distinct smoked flavor. But they don’t hold a candle to the wok smoked ribs, which have a way more genuine barbecue flavor. Sure they were bit of a fire hazard to make, and they require about 50,000 pounds of aluminum foil, but they are genuinely the best oven made ribs I’ve ever had. I’m still picking them out of my teeth, and I don’t ever want to stop.