Spicy Root Beer and Bourbon Glazed Baby Back Ribs
- 2 (12-ounce) cans root beer
- 2 tablespoons hot pepper jelly
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons steak sauce (recommended: Emeril's Steak Sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Caribbean Pick-A-Peppa sauce
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 2 teaspoons bitters (recommended: Angostura)
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 to 5 pounds baby back ribs (2 full slabs, each cut in 1/2)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated onion powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
To make the glaze, place all of the ingredients for the glaze in a 6-quart pot or larger, and cook over medium-high heat. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and allow the mixture to reduce to a glaze consistency, about 25 to 30 minutes longer. Remove the glaze from the stove and strain though a fine mesh strainer. Reserve and keep warm, until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Place the ribs on a sheet pan or baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl, combine the kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir well to incorporate, and use 1 tablespoon of the spice rub to cover each of the ribs. Rub the mixture into the meat and allow it to sit undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.
Pour the chicken stock into the sheet pan, and cover the pan with aluminum foil, making a tight seal. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the ribs are very tender.
Remove the ribs from the oven, discard the foil and the fat and oil from the sheet pan, and allow the ribs to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust the oven to the broil setting and position the oven rack to the lowest rung. Brush the ribs with a generous coating of the glaze, about 3 tablespoons of the glaze per set of ribs. Place the sheet pan back in the oven, and broil until the ribs are browned and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven and lay on a cutting board meaty side down. Use a sharp knife to cut the ribs apart. Serve the ribs with some of the leftover glaze on the side, if desired.