I spent some time in Austin, Texas a Summer back.
I never thought I’d ever actually go to Texas. It was one of those mythical places that existed in my mind, taking up much of the same space as woodland fairies, deep space galaxies and Chris Pratt’s pants.
Little did I know that I was soon to be gun-slingin, cow-tippin, everythings-bigger bound for Austin.
It wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I thought it would be. In fact, I kind of loved it. Some say it’s the Portland of the South. And it really was.
Adorable tree lined streets. Food trucks up the wazoo. Live music pretty much anywhere you could plug an amp in. Totally friendly people. Quirky stores and art all over the damn place. And the food. Oh, oh, ohhhh the food.
Oh yeah, and the 2 C pour of bourbon I ordered by accident. Note to self: When in Texas, remember everything comes bigger. So ordering a double = messy.
Smoked pork spare-ribs. Beef brisket. Plump chicken thighs. Luscious corn bread. Creamy coleslaw. Potata’ salad. Mac & cheese. Heaping jugs of sweet tea. And sauce. So. Much. Sauce.
I had always heard real, down-home BBQ was the shiz, but I didn’t really “get it”, until I got it. All of it. Right in my mouth.
I had no idea meat and carbs could be so filling yet so deliciously ethereal.
Since that trip, I’ve taken to making my own homemade BBQ sauce. Depending on the season (and what’s in the cupboard) I’ll spice it up with anything from beer to whiskey, cherries to apricots, and chilies to pineapple. I slather it on everything from eggs (yes, eggs) to ribs to burgers and sometimes I’ll even just grab a spoon.
Dudes. I’ve totally ‘shipped these ingredients.
It takes hardly time at all to make your own homemade BBQ sauce (you know how I’m quick and easy like that) and it’s got an intense smokiness, a deep rich flavour, a perfect balance of sweet & spicy, and is all around gorgeous.
Topped and slathered all over BBQ ribs, it’s finger licking addictive!
I’ve included my rib rub recipe here too in case you want the full experience. And let’s be honest, when something’s this good, you want the champagne experience. Or in this case, the bourbon one.
Oven Baked BBQ Ribs with Rub & Fiery Apricot Bourbon Homemade BBQ Sauce
Yield 2 servings
For the Rub:
- 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
- 1 Tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
For the sauce:
- 1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
- 5 apricots, seeded & chopped (approx 1 1/2 C)
- 1 birds eye chili, seeds removed
- 1 C bourbon
- ¾ C ketchup
- ¼ C apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
- ¼ C Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tsp dry mustard
- ½ Tsp ground cumin
- Pat the ribs dry with paper-towel and place upside down to cut away and discard the membrane/skin from the back of each rack. Use a knife to free a corner of it from the ribs, then grab the loose membrane with a paper-towel and pull it off the rest of the rack. You can leave it on but it can become tough.
- Place all ingredients for the rub in a bowl and mix well to combine. Line a shallow baking tray with tin foil and set the ribs inside. Coat all sides of the ribs with the rub mixture. Wrap tightly in more foil and place in the fridge for 1-12 hours to allow the flavours to develop and get deep into the meat.
- When ready to cook, remove the rib tray from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 2 hours.
- As the ribs bake, make the sauce. Heat the butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. When sizzling and melty, add the onion, garlic and apricots. Sauté until soft and fragrant, approx. 7-10 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring often so the mixture doesn't burn.
- Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a food processor. Puree on high until smooth. Alternatively, you can use a (immersion) blender but be careful – it’s hot!
- After the ribs have cooked for two hours, remove the foil from the top of the ribs and slather the homemade BBQ sauce on like craaaaaaazy. Put the sauced ribs back in the oven for a further 30 minutes to allow the sauce to set.
- Serve with Red Cabbage Slaw and a few Super-Stuffed Cheesey Bacony Twice Baked Potatoes. Because yum.
Homemade BBQ sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge in a mason jar or other non-reactive vessel.