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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cajun Style Baby Back Ribs

It happens to almost everybody who takes part in competition BBQ.  Starting in mid-winter and continuing well into the early fall, after numerous practice cooks and competitions, you run into that wall.  You want ribs for dinner, but you cannot stand the taste of rub and sauce.  The sting of smoke in your eye and the smell that permeates your clothes is too much.  I made it to August this year before I ran into that wall.  I wanted some baby backs and it was time to experiment.  Last year it was Italian style vinegar pepper ribs.  This year, it was Cajun.  The guys at work have found this new Cajun seasoning that they have been putting on everything at lunch.  I was drawn to the smell one day and I strolled over to the table to conduct the finger test.  Good stuff this seasoning.  While I have not been pulled into their Cajun Cult and starting seasoning everything with a dash of blackening powder, I was inspired to try this combination with some baby back ribs.

The rub they have been using is Cajun Foreplay by Dinosaur BBQ.  It is nicely balanced with some heat, some sweet, and other familiar Cajun flavors.  You can get it at the local grocery store they said.  But, our local Grocery Monopoly had other ideas.  In a fit of madness they reset the store shelves and in the process, reduced their inventory.  Cajun Foreplay did not make the cut.  After some aimless wondering through the completely illogical rearranging of the store, I found the spice aisle and settled on a bottle of Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic.  I have used this product in the past and I have been very satisfied.  So, I grabbed a bottle, checked out, and went home to peaceful afternoon of culinary experimentation.

First, I removed the membrane from the back of my baby backs and added a liberal coating of the seasoning to my ribs, front and back.

I briefly considered using the smoker to cook this rack of ribs.  But, at the last minute, I decided to cook these ribs on a hot grill using indirect heat.  On one side of the grill I dumped a full chimney of hot coals, dialed the vents back to about 1/4 open, placed the ribs on the far side of the grill, and closed the lid.  After an hour, I placed some kale tossed in olive oil into a cast iron skillet and placed on indirect heat and moved the ribs above the fire on the top rack.

For a finishing glaze, I mixed equal parts stone ground creole mustard with honey and mixed until spreadable with a grill brush.

For the last half hour of cooking, I moved the kale and ribs over the hot coals and applied the rib glaze in two applications, 15 minutes apart.

Once the glaze had set, I removed from the grill and let them rest for 15 minutes before slicing.  Then I served with the kale and some fresh corn on the cob.

These ribs turned out pretty good.  The heat from the seasoning was nicely balanced with the tart from the mustard and the sweetness of the honey.  I had also forgot how good ribs could taste when cooked slowly on a hot grill versus low and slow on a smoker.  Most importantly, not one hint of traditional BBQ flavor.  Just what the doctor ordered for my acute case of BBQ fatigue.

Thanks for stopping by,



  1. Kale huh? That is very California of you. I hit a wall and actually volunteered to table captain earlier this season. People were shocked that I table captained. I wanted to participate but just wanted a break from the eating. I am over it so give me some ribs.

  2. Replies
    1. Sorry Chilebrown. I have been traveling for the salt mines. While kale is very California of me, I liked kale and other greens before they became the hipster veggie of choice. Even though you table captained, I am sure you sampled some extra. Ja?