Kansas City-style Baby Back Ribs with Onion Rings and Boiled Corn

Total Time:
4 hr 35 min
30 min
2 hr
2 hr 5 min

2 cups

  • 2 full slabs baby back ribs, about 1 1/2 pounds each, cut in 1/2
  • 1/4 cup Kansas City-style Rib Rub, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons hickory wood chips for stovetop smoker
  • 1 cup Kansas City-style Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows
  • 3 to 4 ears sweet corn, in husk
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 cups rice flour
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cold seltzer water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, or other sweet onions such as Oso Sweet, Walla Walla, or Maui, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rings
  • 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • Kansas City-style Rib Rub:
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kansas City-style Barbecue Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup small diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Kansas City-style Rib Rub
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Season each slab of the ribs evenly on both sides with the Kansas City-style Rib Rub and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

  • Remove ribs from the refrigerator and prepare a stovetop smoker with 2 tablespoons of hickory wood chips. Cover with the drip tray, followed by the rack, and lay the seasoned ribs on top of the rack. Set the smoker over a medium-high heat with the lid partially closed. Once the smoker begins to smoke, close the lid completely and reduce the heat to medium. Smoke the ribs for 30 minutes, remove, set on a sheet pan and brush on the meaty sides with the barbecue sauce.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Wrap the the sheet pan with aluminium foil and put in the oven. Bake until the ribs are tender, about 1 hour. Serve with the corn and onion rings.

  • Corn:

  • Preheat a grill to medium-high. Brush husks with oil and place on grill. Grill until husks are lightly charred and corn is cooked through, about 20 minutes, but cooking time varies based on grills. Remove husk before serving, top with butter, and season with salt and pepper.

  • Onion Rings:

  • Combine the rice flour, seltzer water, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and whisk to form a smooth paste. Combine the flour with the Essence in a shallow bowl. Toss the largest, outer rings in the seasoned flour, and dredge in the batter, shaking to remove any excess. (Save the remaining, smaller onion rings for another use.)

  • Heat the oil in a large, deep pot or electric fryer to 350 degrees F. Carefully add the onion rings to the hot oil, and cook, turning occasionally to prevent the pieces from sticking together, until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Kansas City-style Rib Rub:
  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, and stir to combine. Be sure to crumble any lumps that may form with the sugar or spices. Use for meats and seafood to be grilled, as well as for making the barbecue sauce. Any unused rub may be stored in an airtight container and kept in a cool, dry place for up to 6 weeks.

  • Yield: about 2 cups

Kansas City-style Barbecue Sauce:
  • Set a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Sweat the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Sauce may be made up to 3 weeks in advance and refrigerated in a non-reactive airtight container.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

  • Yield: 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William Morrow, 1993.

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