When we caught up with grilling guru Steven Raichlen, he was at the Phoenix airport speaking to us by cell phone. The best-selling author, cooking teacher and TV personality was on the road again – to Salt Lake City, to Colorado Springs where he operates a cooking school, and to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic last weekend as a featured speaker.
We didn’t bother to ask Raichlen where he was headed next, because we wanted to talk to him about more pressing topics: grilling and extra virgin olive oil. He says he’s a huge fan of extra virgin olive oil because of its flavor. “It’s great stuff,” said Raichlen, author of the best-selling Barbecue! Bible (Workman Publishing Co., 2008) and host of Primal Grill on PBS.
Raichlen likes to use EVOO in marinades and as a glaze misted from a spray bottle over meat on the grill. He also likes to finish a dish such as a Tuscan-style porterhouse steak with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. “Use it where you’re going to get the best bang for the buck,” he advised.
With the approach of July Fourth, we thought we could turn to no better person than Raichlen as a source for great recipes. The rotisseried baby back ribs featured here offer a very different take on ribs.
“Gone is the heavy smoke taste so prized by pit bosses in the United States,” Raichlen writes in his book How to Grill (Workman Publishing Co., 2001), where these ribs are featured. “In its stead is the crusty succulence you get when you cook a fatty meat in front of a fire.”
Raichlen bastes the ribs with a lemon oil he makes from freshly squeezed lemon and extra virgin olive oil. He applies the baste using a brush crafted from a bunch of fresh rosemary.
Stay tuned for more Raichlen grilling recipes with the approach of the Fourth of July.
Rotisseried Baby Back Ribs
2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 2 pounds total)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 or 2 lemon wedges
1 bunch fresh rosemary
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons herbes de provence
1. Remove the thin papery membrane on the back of each rack of ribs or have your butcher do this for you.
2. Using a sharp, slender knife and starting on the bone side, make starter holes in the meat between every two ribs. Twist the knife blade to widen the holes. This makes it easier to insert the spit. Use an over-and-under weaving motion to thread the ribs, through the holes, onto the spit.
3. Place the oil in a bowl and squeeze in a wedge or two of lemon. Using the rosemary as a basting brush, lightly brush the ribs on both sides with some of the lemon oil. Generously season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper, then the herbes de Provence. You can grill the ribs right away, but they’ll be even more flavorful if you let them marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Set up the grill for rotisserie grilling and preheat to high.
5. When ready to cook, attach the spit to the rotisserie mechanism and turn on the motor. Grill the ribs, covered, until golden brown and cooked through, 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. Baste the ribs with lemon oil as they cook, using the rosemary as a brush. The ribs are done when the meat has shrunk back about ¼ inch from the ends of the bones. Serve at once.
Note: This recipe serves “two very hungry people.”
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch