- 4 racks true baby back ribs (each ¾ to 1 lb.) or 2 racks American baby back ribs (each 2 to 2½ lbs.)
- 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 piece (2 in.) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tbs. sugar
- 1 tbs. coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbs. honey
- 1 tbs. soy sauce
- 1 tbs. Asian fish sauce or additional soy sauce
For the dipping sauce
4 tsp. coarse salt (kosher or sea)
4 tsp. white pepper
4 juicy limes, cut in half
How to make it:
- Prepare ribs and spice paste: If necessary, remove thin, papery membrane from back of each rack of ribs (some stores sell baby backs with membrane removed). If using larger racks of ribs, cut each rack in half. Place ribs in nonreactive baking dish just large enough to hold them in single layer.
- Place garlic, ginger, sugar, 1 tbs. salt, and black pepper in mortar and pound to paste with pestle. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, purée ingredients in food processor. Work in honey, soy sauce, and fish sauce or additional soy sauce. Spread spice paste over ribs on both sides. Let ribs marinate in refrigerator, covered, 1 to 4 hours.
- Prepare ingredients for dipping sauce: Place 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. white pepper in neat mounds side by side in each of 4 tiny bowls. Place 2 lime halves next to each bowl.
- Preheat grill to medium. When ready to cook, brush grill grate clean and apply thin coat of oil to grate. Place ribs, bone side down, on hot grate and grill until golden brown and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes per side, a little longer for full-size ribs. If flare-ups occur, move ribs to another section of grill. When ribs are done, meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about 1/4 inch.
- Transfer racks of ribs to cutting board and cut into individual ribs, then arrange on platter or plates for serving. Just before eating, instruct guests to squeeze 1 to 2 tbs. lime juice into bowl of salt and white pepper and stir until mixed. Dip ribs in sauce before eating. Serves 4.
“PLANET BARBECUE,” COPYRIGHT © 2010 BY STEVEN RAICHLEN, IS PUBLISHED AT $22.95 BY WORKMAN PUBLISHING, 225 VARICK ST., NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10014. PHOTOS: BEN FINK