The Sweet Heat of Cajun Dry-Rubbed Ribs

Looking to channel your inner chef? Are you bored with your go-to recipes? We’re here to help and provide inspiration for new meals you can make at home with Vinous in the Kitchen. Led by Eric Guido, Vinous’ resident Italian wine critic and also a professionally trained chef, Vinous in the Kitchen is a series of delicious recipes you can easily prepare at home. Through his video tutorial and accompanying article, Eric will guide you through each recipe step-by-step, offering useful tips and techniques, as well as ideas on wine pairings. Find the bottles on Delectable, and make sure to share your own favorite pairings. Cajun Dry-Rubbed Ribs are on the menu today. Buon appetito! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I will never forget my first experience with a perfectly cooked, fall-off-the-bone, rack of ribs. Granted, at the time, it was slathered with a heavy sweet-and-spicy barbeque sauce, but even with the intensity of that sauce, the flavor and texture of those ribs shined through like a beacon in the night. In my opinion, no other dish is quite as decadent and satisfies all of the senses, while also being nourishing to the body, mind and soul. That experience put me on a path to trying to understand ribs better, which started with the pleasurable task of tasting them as often as possible. This led to discovering what became my true favorite rib preparation: dry-rubbed ribs. Ever since then, I pass on the sauces and the smoke-infused versions, while also preferring to go with spareribs over baby back because what I learned was that a perfectly cooked rack of dry-rubbed spareribs can showcase all of the cuts’ natural meaty flavors, textures and sense of umami. To put this into a wine lover's perspective, imagine the greatest glass of pure varietal wine versus one that’s been heavily oaked. That’s the difference. If you think it sounds odd to hear someone speak so lovingly about a plate of food, then you may have never had perfectly cooked ribs. Today's recipe might provide you with the ideal way to change that. The best part of enjoying ribs is that it’s also remarkably easy to make them yourself. The biggest obstacle is time because we are going to be cooking these low and slow, which is the only way to achieve that fall-off-the-bone goodness. Also, with my preparation, you can plan around the actual work in the kitchen and utilize the time in between the few occasions that you need to attend to the ribs to get other things done. As an example, even though the entire process takes about five hours, your involvement will only take a ½ hour. What’s more, one of the best things about this recipe is that you can easily transform it from dry-rubbed ribs into a barbecue-slathered rack if you prefer that that style, essentially making this preparation the only one you need to please everyone at the table. When it comes to picking the right ribs to use, look for St. Louis-style spareribs, which have the cartilage, sternum, and rib tips already removed - making your job even easier. As for the dry rub itself, this recipe will make about five ounces, which is more than you need for the ribs; but in my opinion, whenever making a mixture like this, it’s always a good idea to make extra to use on other preparations. My Cajun Dry Rub can be used on steaks, burgers, chicken - basically anything that you want to add some sweet heat to. So, experiment to your heart’s content, and get ready to have a serious dry-rubbed rib experience. WATCH THE FULL VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE CAJUN DRY-RUBBED RIBS INGREDIENTS: Cajun Dry Rub (This recipe will make enough Cajun Dry Rub to use in multiple preparations. Have a container ready to store the unused rub.): ¼ cup sweet paprika 3 tablespoons kosher salt 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon garlic granules 1 tablespoon oregano 1 tablespoon rosemary 2 teaspoons black pepper 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (depending on your taste for heat) 3 crushed bay leaves Ribs (Serves 2-3): 2 ½-to 3-pound St. Louis-style Spareribs (halved with excess fat trimmed) Enough Cajun Dry Rub to coat 6 stalks of celery peeled and cut into 3-4 inch pieces 6-8 carrots, partially peeled and cut into 3-4 inch pieces 1 onion, quartered 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary 1 quart of stock (chicken or mushroom) 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar Olive oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil as needed Salt and pepper for seasoning Optional additions: 1. You can also add some waxy or boiling potatoes to your vegetable mix to add even more diversity on your dinner plates. 2. I like to serve this dish with coleslaw on the side. It’s a traditional pairing and a great palate-cleanser. SUGGESTED WINE PAIRINGS: Cajun Dry-Rubbed Ribs: Grenache blends - Côtes du Rhone - Featured wine: 2018 Domaine du Gour de Chaulé Côtes du Rhône Gewürztraminer - Featured wine: 2019 Terlan Alto Adige Gewürztraminer Tradition Alsatian Riesling - Featured wine: 2010 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Brand Vieilles Vignes BBQ-Style Dry-Rubbed Ribs: Domestic Syrah - Featured Wine: 2018 Carlisle Syrah Sonoma County Grenache - Châteauneuf du Pape - Featured Wine: 2017 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape THE PROCESS: The night before you plan to make your ribs: 1. Mix up your dry rub by adding sweet paprika, kosher salt, onion powder, garlic granules, oregano, rosemary, black pepper, cayenne pepper and crushed bay leaves to a bowl. 2. Using either a mortar and pestle or the end of a lemon reamer, work the mixture by pushing down and twisting. You’re not looking to crush all of the ingredients into a powder, but instead to begin breaking up some of the dried herbs to release more flavor. Mix and then pour into a container that can be used to store this mixture. 3. Lay your ribs out on a clean work surface and, using a paring knife, cut off any excess fat. You don’t want to remove all of the fat, just any large chunks that may not melt away during the cooking process. 4. Have a large Ziplock bag or plastic wrap handy to store your ribs in the refrigerator overnight. 5. Sprinkle the dry rub all over the ribs - top, bottom and sides - creating an even coating throughout. 6. Place the ribs into your bag or wrap in plastic wrap, and return it to the refrigerator to rest overnight. The day you plan to make your ribs: 1. Plan for 5 ½ hours of preparation before serving. 2. Take your ribs out of the refrigerator one hour prior to cooking to let them come to room temperature. 3. When ready, turn your oven’s broiler on high, and place the rack to its highest position. 4. Place a heavy gauge cooking vessel over a medium flame. Roasting pans are perfect to allow the ribs to have space in the pan. Also, if you have a rack insert, it can be useful here; otherwise, the ribs can cook resting over the vegetables. 5. Pour enough oil into the pan to lightly coat the surface, and add your carrots, celery and onions. Stir to coat them in the oil, and season them with salt. 6. Place your ribs (meaty side up) on a foil-lined sheet pan and put them under the broiler. Set your timer for two minutes. 7. If you plan to rest the ribs on the vegetables, then leave them in the pan and turn the heat to low. If you plan to use an insert, take the vegetables out, and place the insert into the pan, and then the vegetables on top of it. 8. Once your timer goes off, take the ribs out of the oven and place them over the vegetables in the pan. 9. Turn off your broiler and set your oven temperature to 235 degrees. 10. Add enough stock to come up just below the ribs (you don’t want them sitting in the stock) and place your burner to medium-high. 11. Bring the stock to a light boil, and then remove from the heat. 12. Place a sprig of rosemary across each set of ribs and cover the pan. If the pan does not have its own cover, a tight-fitting layer of aluminum foil will be fine. 13. Place the pan in the center of your oven and set the timer for 3 ½ hours. 14. Once the timer goes off, remove the foil and baste the top of the ribs with the stock. 15. Now leave the ribs uncovered and allow them to cook for another ½ hour. 16. Once completed, take the pan out of the oven and move the ribs to a clean cutting board or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Cover them lightly with foil and allow them to rest for a ½ hour. 17. Move the vegetables to another baking sheet, season with salt and place them in the oven to allow their flavors to intensify. 18. Pour the remaining stock through a fat separator, and let it cool for five minutes; then pour the liquid, but not the fat, into a sauté pan, and place over medium heat to reduce. 19. If you want to make some of your ribs in a barbeque style, take a ¼ to ½ cup of your favorite barbeque sauce (I like Mesquite because it adds a smoky flavor, but Bourbon is also another popular flavor), and place it over a low flame for five to ten minutes to heat it completely through and cook off a bit of its liquid. 20. Once the ribs have rested for about 25 minutes, remove the foil and cut them into the portion sizes you plan to serve them in. If you are going to make any of the ribs barbeque style, brush them with the warmed barbeque sauce. (I like to put any leftover barbeque sauce in a ramekin that can be placed on the table.) 21. Take your vegetables out of the oven and turn your broiler on high. 22. Place the ribs back in under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure that the barbeque sauce doesn’t begin to burn. As for the dry-rubbed ribs, this is simply to give them one last blast of heat before service. 23. Pour the gravy from the sauté pan into a serving bowl or container to store it. 24. Dress your plates with the vegetables (a ramekin of your favorite coleslaw if you have some) and place the ribs on the plates with some fresh rosemary. 25. If you prefer your dry-rubbed ribs with gravy, drizzle some over the top of them, and place the rest on the table for your guests to serve themselves. --Eric, The Sweet Heat of Cajun Dry-Rubbed Ribs , July 2020 Check out previous Vinous in the Kitchen Recipes: Fire-Roasted Branzino with Swiss Chard Horta In Pursuit of the Perfect Burger Pantry Essentials 101 Stock Essentials An Irish Grandma’s Italian Meatballs

Bedrock Wine Co.

Esola Vineyard Zinfandel 2017

Mike R

Zin and ribs last night and this wine paired perfectly - intense powerful with some extraction evident but when paired with finger sucking Rufus Teague sauce ribs - bam and fireworks - yummy and smiles all around - this wine could last a few years but why for it is so ready NOW — 4 years ago

Mike, Shawn and 61 others liked this
Timothy Lynch

Timothy Lynch

A superb food wine combo. 👍

Enfield Wine Co.

Brosseau Vineyard Syrah 2014

Juicy, persistent overachiever. Ribs were a great match. Wish I could get more in Nippon. — 4 years ago

Scott liked this
Scott Petrus

Scott Petrus

That bottle is fantastic.
Kyle Harvey

Kyle Harvey

Thanks for the assist 🏀

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards

Sonoma County Syrah 2014

Jesse Pender

Good fruit and oak balance. Decanted. Liked the wine a little better before the decant. — 6 years ago

Shay, Kimberly and 3 others liked this

Elena Fucci

Titolo Aglianico del Vulture 2016

A beautiful wine from southern Italy. I’ve never had the Aglianico grape before, wow! Big red wine to pair with ribs tonight. Will not let the Saharan dust cloud ruin my BBQ! Cheers! — 4 years ago

P, Tom and 24 others liked this


Always elegant food and wine at your home!🍷🥩
Sharon B

Sharon B Influencer Badge

@Trixie i love to cook!

Domaine du Gour de Chaulé

Cuvée de la Vigneronne Côtes du Rhône Red Rhone Blend 2018

Aromas of crushed, ripe blackberries, clove, hints of anise, spiced orange, and sage all come together in the 2018 Gour de Chaulé Côtes du Rhône, creating an alluring and deeply satisfying bouquet.  On the palate, soft textures are complemented by fleshy blue and black fruits, along with notes of sweet licorice and purple-tinged florals, as minerals slowly settle in, adding gravitas. The finish is long, staining the senses in fruit concentrate, yet also centered by brisk acids, arriving late in the experience, or possibly, just in time.  Wow. — 4 years ago

Alex, Tom and 10 others liked this

Domaine Zind Humbrecht

Vieilles Vignes Brand Grand Cru Riesling 2010

Wonderful! Stunning aromas: rubber (to die for), mango, papaya, ripe peach and wet stone. Singing acidity, very lively in a sandwich of late harvest fruit and strong mineral base. I wish for longer finish, but honestly, it's fantastic as is. Still a baby, but is drinking beautifully right now. — 9 years ago

Masha Baklanova
with Masha
Rich, Jörgen and 8 others liked this

Evening Land Vineyards

La Source Seven Springs Estate Pinot Noir 2014

Smokey ribs and an OR Pinot. Yes please! This was terrific. I double decanted. It needed it. Tight and big. Air helps. Eventually it showed its stuff. Mmmmm — 4 years ago

Chris, Eric and 27 others liked this

Cantina Terlan

Tradition Alto Adige Gewürztraminer 2017

Oily, full bodied, lots of flowers and honey and spice. Dry, good acid. High alcohol — 5 years ago

Domaine de Marcoux

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhône Blend 2010

One of my last remaining 2010 CdP’s...from back when I was exploring the region. I’ve since only focused on a few specific producers but Marcoux is one that still has some of my attention...mostly because it’s hard to deny that it’s really good wine. This bottle seemed a touch reductive at first but that blew off with some time and what emerged was a bounty of brambles, sandalwood, garrigue, Twin Bing, some sediment...actually a lot of sediment. The tannins weren’t very obvious at first but after a couple of hours, the tannin monster showed up in full force. For whatever reason, this has happened to me on occasion with top wines from CdP and Gigondas. Not sure what causes that. Anyway, based off this experience, I would have to say that these still have quite a bit of life in them. In the same breath, however, I would exercise caution as I’ve witnessed too many Grenache based wines not age as gracefully. — 5 years ago

Matt, Ellen and 3 others liked this