Last weekend was the first hint of nice weather in our neck of the woods, and the first time we fired up the smoker this year. And as far as we’re concerned, where there is smoke, there is pork, and probably also a beer (or four). For this recipe, we combined the two and made beer-glazed pork spare ribs.
Inspired by an old Steven Raichlen recipe, the beer and ginger glaze has been one of our grilling go-tos for years. While most dark beers will work for this one, we’ve found that the Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale by Mississippi’s Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company is perfect for slathering on meat — and for putting back while we’re manning the smoker. It has a hint of sweetness and an underlying nuttiness that beg to be paired with pig.
While you’ll be tempted to pull these ribs out of the smoker early, give them the full six hours they require. The succulent meat is worth the wait. Plus, it gives you a great reason to hang out by the smoker all day drinking beer.
Beer-Glazed Spare Ribs
2 slabs pork spare ribs
Your favorite barbecue rub
Sticky beer glaze:
½ stick butter
2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and microplaned or grated
½ cup brown beer
½ cup honey
The night before you plan to smoke the ribs, coat them in oil then a dusting of salt and pepper, as well as your favorite barbecue rub. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, fire up your smoker and set it at 225-250ºF. Add the ribs to the smoker and let them cook for 3 hours.
Near the end of the 3 hours make the glaze by melting the butter in a saucepan then adding the ginger. Let the ginger cook in the butter for a few minutes, until it becomes aromatic but not brown. Add the beer and the honey and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
Glaze the ribs and wrap in tin foil (make sure the foil closes on top). After one hour, open the foil and glaze again then reseal the foil. After another hour has passed, glaze the ribs once more (the ribs should cook for a total of 6 hours). This time, don’t reseal the ribs but leave the tin foil open so the glaze can get sticky.
Remove the ribs and allow them to cool for 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the same beer you used in the glaze and your favorite bbq sides.