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Barbecue Secrets

Recipe of the week - Ravenswood Ribs

Jul 31, 2015

Makes 4–6 servings

Zinfandel is one of the best wines you can drink with grilled or barbecued food and California winemaker Ravenswood makes some of the tastiest, most popular zins around. Ravenswood’s Executive Chef, Eric Lee, was kind enough to share this rib recipe. This versatile rub/mop combination also works well with other cuts of pork, as well as beef and lamb.

Note: I’ve used my Real Barbecued Ribs technique for this recipe, but you can also do them Cheater Ribs style. 

For the ribs:

2 racks of back ribs, trimmed by your butcher

1 medium onion, peeled and halved

1 tsp | 5 mL peppercorns

3 or 4 whole cloves

a couple of chunks of apple wood



For the rub:

1½ tsp | 12.5 mL dried oregano         

1½ tsp | 12.5 mL dried thyme

¾ tsp | 4 mL fennel seed, toasted and ground

½ tsp | 2 mL cumin seed, toasted and ground

½ tsp | 2 mL mustard seed, toasted and ground

1½ tsp | 12.5 mL onion powder          

2¼ tsp | 11 mL garlic powder 

1/8 tsp | 0.5 mL           ground ginger

¾ tsp | 4 mL ground black pepper

1 Tbsp | 15 mL kosher salt

1½ tsp | 12.5 mL paprika       

¾ tsp | 4 mL chili powder

1/4 tsp | 1 mL cayenne           

¼ tsp | 1 mL sugar


For the “mop”:

1/2 bottle | 375 mL Ravenswood Zinfandel wine

1 cup | 250 mL sparking apple cider  

1 Tbsp | 15 mL molasses

1/8 cup | 30 mL olive oil         

1/4 tsp | 1 mL ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp | 1 mL ground cloves

1/8 tsp | 0.5 mL ground cinnamon

1/2 Tbsp | 7.5 mL garlic powder

11/2 Tbsp | 22.5 mL kosher salt

1 bay leaf

1/8 cup | 30 mL dark Karo syrup


Combine the rub ingredients in a medium bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Set the rub aside.

Combine the mop ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer them for 15 minutes on medium low heat, uncovered. 

Remove the membrane from the ribs if your butcher hasn’t already done it for you.

Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature up to 200–220˚F | 95–100˚C.

            Generously coat the ribs on both sides with the rub. Let the ribs sit for at least 15 minutes, or until the rub starts to draw moisture out of the meat and looks shiny.

            Place the ribs on the cooking grate, or place them on a rib rack. Place a chunk of apple wood on the coals. Cook them for 5 or 6 hours, depending on the size of the ribs, mopping them about every half hour and adding another chunk of apple wood about an hour before the ribs are done.

Half an hour before the end of the cooking time, test the ribs for doneness. If they pass the pull test (the ribs pull away from one another easily but they’re not falling off the bone) give them one more coat of sauce, wrap them in foil, and return them to the cooker for another half hour or so.

            Remove them from the cooker and let the wrapped ribs rest for 20–45 minutes. Unwrap them, cut them into single ribs, and serve them with your favorite accompaniments, including, of course, some Ravenswood Zinfandel!