Recipe courtesy of Zerelda's Bistro

Honey Bourbon Glazed Smoked Spareribs, with Beer Bacon BBQ sauce and Southwestern Green Chili Mac 'n' Cheese

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 8 hr 50 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 2 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Honey Bourbon Glaze:

1/2 cup bourbon

2/3 cup honey 

2 tablespoons brown sugar 

Beer Bacon BBQ Sauce:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup diced white onion

2 teaspoons chopped garlic 

One 12-ounce bottle of your favorite beer 

1/2 cup cooked bacon, coarsely chopped 

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar 

2 cups ketchup 

1/4 cup molasses 

1/3 cup granulated sugar 

3 tablespoons brisket drippings 

2 tablespoons chili powder 

1 tablespoon Worcestershire 

Kosher salt and pepper


1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup coarse black pepper 

1/8 cup Korean chile powder 

1/8 cup granulated garlic 

Canola oil, for rubbing the ribs and smoker grates

2 racks pork spareribs 

1 cup apple cider vinegar, in a spray bottle 

Garnish: sliced green onions 

Southwestern Green Chili Mac 'n' Cheese:

4 to 6 cups half-and-half

1 tablespoon chopped garlic 

1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce 

1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin 

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning 

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 

1/2 cup shredded American cheese 

1 pound medium pasta shells, cooked to al dente 

1 cup diced cooked green chiles 

1 cup shredded jack cheese 

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar

1 cup shredded smoked Gouda

Kosher salt and pepper

2/3 cup toasted buttered breadcrumbs 

1 teaspoon Korean chile powder 


Special equipment:
a spray bottle; a smoker; 6 pounds charcoal; 5 small chunks of hickory wood, or more if needed; 5 small chunks of apple wood, or more if needed
  1. For the honey bourbon glaze: Pour the bourbon into a saucepan over low heat; ignite bourbon to burn off the alcohol for about 5 minutes. Add the honey and brown sugar and whisk to thicken. Simmer for another 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Pour glaze into a small bowl and set aside.
  2. For the beer bacon bbq sauce: Heat a large pot on high heat, then add the butter and let it melt for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add the beer and bacon and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar and reduce by a quarter, then add ketchup, molasses, granulated sugar, brisket drippings, chili powder, Worcestershire, salt and pepper and cook on low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool for 10 minutes, then puree in a blender until smooth, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. For the ribs: Whisk together the salt, pepper, chile powder and garlic powder in a small bowl. Drizzle a little canola oil over the ribs, front and back, then rub the oil in. Holding your hand high, season both sides of the ribs with rub. Be sure to get an even coating on both sides, along with the sides of the ribs.
  4. Soak 5 to 6 paper towels with canola oil, then open the smoker lid and place soaked paper towels in the smoker with 1 chunk hickory, 2 small chunks apple wood and a few handfuls charcoal. Light the paper towels. Let the coals burn down for 20 to 30 minutes. Add a couple more chunks hickory, apple and charcoal, then let smoker come up to 250 degrees F. Place a small pan of water on smoker rack, then place ribs in smoker. Let cook 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Add another chunk of each wood and more charcoal; repeat this process every 30 to 45 minutes. At 2 hours into the cooking process, spritz ribs with apple cider vinegar, then spritz every 30 minutes until the third hour of cooking. At the third hour, wrap the ribs in foil and place back on the smoker. At the 4 1/2-hour mark, take the ribs out of foil and glaze with the honey bourbon. Let glaze set in for 20 to 30 minutes in the smoker meat-side up. Let ribs rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then slice. Drizzle ribs with Beer Bacon BBQ sauce and toss. Garnish the ribs with sliced scallions.
  6. For the Southwestern Green Chili Mac 'n' Cheese: Meanwhile, heat four cups half-and-half to a gentle boil in a medium-large saucepot. Add the garlic, chipotle sauce, cumin, seafood seasoning and thyme, then add the American cheese, whisking until smooth and melted. Fold in the pasta and green chiles and heat through until lightly bubbly. Add the shredded jack, Cheddar and Gouda. If the pasta is too thick, add in another cup or two of half-and-half to smooth it out. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Garnish with toasted buttered breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of Korean chile flakes.
  7. If you prefer baked mac 'n' cheese, place pasta into a casserole dish, sprinkle a handful of extra Cheddar and jack cheeses on top and bake at 350 degrees F until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
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