Harold Dieterle's Smoked Thai Pork Ribs With Sweet Tamarind BBQ Sauce

In parts of the Midwest and South, there is a grand tradition of brushing pork ribs with Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard, then dusting the sweet meat with a good amount of a proprietary spice mixture whose recipe is oftentimes held under lock and key. This slow-and-low barbecue style, dry rub, was popularized in Memphis and is pretty much an American classic. Here, Dieterle gives the style a unique Asian spin, replacing the mustard with shrimp paste.

Preparing the rub might require a stop at the Asian market, but it will be well worth it. "I don't put barbecue sauce directly on my ribs when serving," says the chef when asked how to serve his sweet and umami-rich sauce. So do like Dieterle and serve it on the side for a gradual saucing experience. But be warned: You will want to put it on everything.

Also see: Harold Dieterle Bought A Big Green Egg

Harold Dieterle's Smoked Thai Pork Ribs With Sweet Tamarind BBQ Sauce
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to 6
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried and ground kaffir lime leaf
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or sugar
  • 1 tablespoons ground Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shrimp paste in oil
  • 2 racks pork ribs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch knob ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
  • 2 cups liquid tamarind (made from concentrate and strained)
  • 5 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  1. :::rub and ribs:::
  2. In a small bowl, mix all dry spices together. Reserve.
  3. Brush the ribs generously with the shrimp paste in oil.
  4. Apply a good amount of the rub (all if you prefer) and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. Load the grill or smoker with light charcoal lumps and a few handfuls of soaked apple, cherry or pecan wood (make sure there is not too much water on the wood, which will extinguish the flame). Cover and adjust the temperature to 250°. Smoke the ribs, bone-side down, for two hours. Wrap the ribs in foil and smoke for another hour. Remove the ribs from foil and smoke for another two hours to form a bark on the meat. Serve with tamarind BBQ sauce.
  6. :::tamarind BBQ sauce:::
  7. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, shallots and lemongrass and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add the liquid tamarind, palm sugar, rice vinegar and fish sauce and simmer for 10 minutes until thick. Reserve for the ribs.
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