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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Italian Style Baby Backs with Hot Pepper Vinegar

Folks, BBQ Silly Season is here!  That means experimentation without sauce and BBQ rub.  Just good old experimentation with other flavors.  Settle in and enjoy the ride.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to post or send an e-mail and we'll give it a try.

A few weeks ago, Hope and I went to Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza for dinner.  They have a great menu and a good beer selection.  One item on the menu that popped out were the Italian Style Spare Ribs with Hot Pepper Vinegar.  The ribs were great.  At that moment, I vowed that this would be my first experimentation after the BBQ season was over.  So, here is our recreation.

First, I pickled some hot and sweet peppers with garlic cloves and olives.  My pickling liquid was just a basic pickle brine:

1 1/2 cups of white wine vinegar.  I used the white wine variety as I did not want the vinegar to be overpowering in the dish.
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp of sugar.  I used Turbanado
1 tsp of kosher salt

While the above was coming to a boil, I cut some sweet and hot peppers, then packed into 1/2 pint jars with:

2 garlic cloves
A mix of green and kalamata olives
1/2 tsp oregano

Once the brine was boiling, I poured into the jars and sealed and let pickle for 24 hours.

The next morning, I fired up the Stretch and brought to 250 F.  While the smoker was coming to temperature, I pulled the membrane off of three half racks of baby backs, rubbed with olive oil, and seasoned with kosher salt, pepper, granulated garlic, thyme, and rosemary.

I placed the ribs on the top rack and put two hickory splits in the ash pan.  Here is what they looked like after two hours.

After three hours of cook time, I placed the ribs in foil pans, covered with the vinegar/pepper/olive mix, sealed tight with foil, and placed back in the smoker for one hour.

After one hour in foil, I pulled from the smoker, removed the foil, and let the ribs rest.

Then, I sliced and dug into the ribs with anticipation...

Outstanding.  The peppers and olives soaked up the smoky pork fat and the pork fat soaked up the spicy vinegar.  The meat was tender and almost 100% fall off the bone, but not quite.  Still some of that tug I am looking for in a rib.  They turned out better than I could have hoped for a first time experiment.  This is on the to-do again list for sure.  I may try with a pork butt and serve on crusty bread with melted provolone on top of the peppers and olives.

Thanks for stopping by,



  1. We may judge a rib only contest this weekend. I would love to get a rib like that as an entry.

    1. How do you think this would score in KCBS? Not very well I think. I think I am going to try this with pulled pork. Put it in a crusty roll, cover with pepper and olive, then provolone, 30 sec under a broiler. Yummy...