Opulent Orange Ribs

Dang good messy beach food.

My weekend at Fire Island was heading towards fancy, getting closer to crazy, turned right at decadent, and went straight and beyond opulence. Friday night I joined my friends to prep grilled goods for 40+ guests including chicken, steak, shrimp, & veggie kabobs, clams & mussels, corn, potatoes, scallops wrapped in bacon, sliders, watermelon margaritas, beer can chicken, and luscious ribs that fit the fall of the bone stereotype. I was intimated when my host Ray pointed at 2 - 30" long sacks of meat, asking for help. I read pork, and thought, okay brine, oven, grill forget that its for a ton of people. When my shot at the oven came (6 am the next day) a sleepy veteran rib restaurateur told me to boil instead of bake. Ray's mom's advice agreed. Boil I did. We had 4 racks of perfect unforgettable ribs that the crowd went wild for all out of beachy half-minded opulence and an off-the cuff recipe.

Opulent Orange Ribs

2 gallons cold water
1 cup salt
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup strawberry jam/jelly
1 tblsp peppercorns
2 racks of ribs
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tblsp soy sauce
2-3 cups BBQ sauce

Make sure you can accommodate 2 gallons of fluid plus ribs in your fridge and that you have stock pots large enough. I had to use two stock pots, and cut each ribs racks in half. Heat 1 cup water in a large stock pot add 1 cup salt, and stir until dissolved. Try not to boil. Add the orange juice, strawberry jam, and peppercorns, stirring to mix. Add the rest of the cold water and stir. No need to trim up the ribs, all the weird stuff renders off in the next step, just place in the brine. Allow ribs to brine for 2-4 hours in the refrigerator. Place a heavy object on top to keep them submerged like a plate or cans.

Pour out the brine keeping the peppercorns and ribs in the pot. Fill pot almost to the top with fresh water. Add coriander and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to keep ribs simmering. Cover and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Remove ribs from heat when meat recedes 1/2 -1" from the bone. In retrospect there was much wishing that the rib boiling water was reserved for making stock or sauce, so maybe put some aside before allowing your ribs to cool out of the pot.

Grill ribs, covered with a modest amount of sauce over a hot grill. Grill until color darkens and crust starts to form on parts. I didn't do this part, because it was up to grill man Sal, so use your best judgment. I always find there is an eager volunteer to grill. Cut, sauce, and serve!

Orange, gold, and white, the perfect setting for orange ribs.

The party was at a fab white and orange beach house on the Cherry Grove section of Fire Island. We kept the ribs outside. It was only a coincidence that the ribs were brined in OJ. Its a beach house so pantry items were limited, and I couldn't find any sugar, hence the strawberry jelly.

Final note: Nailing a good rib recipe was my New Year's resolution. Check! Yes Sir!!


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