BBQ Ribs + Pumpkin = Um, Yum.
Of course, I got some backlash from my Annual Ribfest competitor, Big-D, on this idea. Here’s how the conversation went…
Me: So, the other day I made this kick-ass BBQ sauce that subbed out pumpkin for ketchup as the base.
Big-D: Why would you do that?
Me: Because I can.
Big-D: You’re a douche.
Me: You’re just jealous of my skills, bigger douche.
Yes, we’re basically children. Children who call each other mean names, yet still remain proper besties.
All childishness aside, these ribs are pretty great. Just a hint of heat, plenty of sweetness and tang. And, the little voice inside my head told me it would be genius to roundhouse the pumpkin notes in the sauce with a little nutmeg dry rub kick.
So glad I listened to Mini-Me, she’s got some bright ideas.
Pumpkin BBQ Sauced Ribs
(makes 4 servings)
2 full racks of pork spare ribs (4 – 5 lbs total)
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
Pumpkin BBQ Sauce:
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk to combine and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes to thicken. Reserve 1 cup of the sauce for serving, the rest will go on the ribs before cooking.
To make the ribs, Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the nutmeg, salt and pepper in a small dish and set aside. Trim the silver connective skin from the underside of the ribs (unless you’re smarter than me and asked the butcher to do this for you) then cut the racks into four equal sized sections.
Sprinkle the racks evenly with the dry rub and massage it gently into the meat. Arrange the racks on their own sheets of foil on a large sheet pan and brush both sides of each rack with a good amount of the Pumpkin BBQ sauce. Lay each rack meat side down, then fold up the sides of the foil to make tightly sealed little packages.
Cook the ribs in the preheated oven for 2 hours.
Once they’ve reached fall-off-the-bone perfection stage, remove them from their foil pouches and finish them on a hot grill to crisp them up. Should take just a few minutes on each side.
Serve with some of the reserved Pumpkin BBQ Sauce (and quite a few napkins.)
And when you’re all done, your plate should look something like this: