As we approach the summer months, it’s time to start thinking about al fresco dining, and succulent barbecue flavours. With the help of the chefs at The Merchant Hotel, you could achieve the optimum combination of tender and moist, exquisitely cooked meat, with all of the flavour of your traditional barbecue.
At The Merchant Hotel, experimenting with new techniques is what helps us to achieve the most successful recipes, and brining is just one example of these techniques. The process of soaking meats in a solution of water, salt and sugar, known as brining, leads to incredibly moist cooked meats and poultry. Despite requiring significant preparation, it is well worth the wait. Follow our recipe and enjoy the ultimate, melt-in-the-mouth ribs, cooked using a smoking grill or barbecue.
4 racks of baby back ribs
For the brine
· 3.5l water
· 280g sea salt
· 170g brown sugar
1. Remove the membrane from the back side of each rack of ribs, pulling with a paper towel in your hand to maintain a good grip.
2. Combine the brine ingredients in a stainless steel stock pot, or divide the contents into quarters and combine in heavy-duty vacuum pack bags, which will allow you to refrigerate the ribs overnight.
3. Add all four racks to the pot, or add one rack to each bag. Push the ribs into the brine and cover the pot, or seal bags and refrigerate overnight.
To cook the ribs
· 70g freshly ground black pepper
· 150g salt
· 35g ground paprika
· 42.5g brown sugar
· 1 large handful of apple wood or hickory chunks
· 1 litre apple juice
· BBQ sauce (optional)
1. Remove ribs from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.
2. Combine the black pepper, salt, paprika and brown sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle one quarter of this rub over each rib, coating the front and back side of each rack well. Massage the rub into the ribs with your hand.
3. Preheat smoking grill to 95-105°C and sprinkle wood chunks in the bottom of the grill to add flavour.
4. Add ribs to the smoker, overlapping slightly. Smoke ribs for 3-4 hours, adding additional wood chunks each hour and spritzing hourly with apple juice.
5. Brush with barbeque sauce if desired during the last 15 minutes of cooking