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Kick off the summer grilling season with these Cointreau ribs.
Ribs: Great For The Grill
Memorial Day (or Spring Bank Holiday if you’re in UK) is the traditional kick-off to summer. Even though summer really begins mid June, this weekend is all about outdoor cooking.
I just love cookouts and always have so I look forward to this weekend. And most of all, I look forward to my first rack of ribs done on the grill. I think they’re my favorite thing to eat. Since they taste way better done on the BBQ, I’m all set to go. One thing I really like is citrus with pork. These Cointreau ribs certainly satisfy with a hint of orange in the glaze.
Cointreau is an orange-flavored liqueur for those who’ve never heard of the stuff. By itself, it’s a pleasant after-dinner drink, but it’s also useful for when you want to impart a deeply orange accent to anything.
Since the brand name is quite expensive–my local liquor store owner said that it has “attitude.” I assume that he meant that it was overpriced because if you could apply the sarcasm font to speech, that’s how it was said. As I’m known to be economical, he suggested a lesser-known brand which was quite in line with what I wanted to spend. I had lots of it left over after I made this great chocolate mousse cake and I wanted to use some.
Even though I rarely drink, I like the taste alcohol imparts to food and I also like orange with pork so I decided to experiment with ribs. The dry rub contains orange zest and the glaze has the orange liqueur and orange juice.
If you want to go non-alcoholic in this, substitute frozen orange juice concentrate for the liqueur.
The preferred way to cook these ribs is over indirect grill heat, but they can also be done in a conventional oven. You could do them in the air fryer if you have a fryer large enough to accommodate a full or two half racks of ribs. If you want to go slow cooker or Instant Pot, you have to keep a very careful eye on them because these ribs are best when they are not falling off the bone.
When you finish them up with the glaze, just move the ribs to the lit side of the grill or pop them under the broiler if you used the oven. The air fryer is also great for finishing them off but keep a sharp eye because it’s so quick that the glaze will burn easily.
- 2 lbs pork baby back ribs
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbs smoked paprika
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp dehydrated orange zest
- Pinch of cayenne
Orange BBQ Sauce:
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tbs cider vinegar
- 2 tbs molasses
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup orange liqueur
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp honey
- Mix dry rub ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- Prepare ribs by removing the membrane covering the bones. Pat ribs dry and cover them with the dry rub. Place on a tray then refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
- Place BBQ sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and stir well. Heat over medium-low heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes until sauce is reduced to a ketchup consistency. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To prepare on the grill--wrap ribs in heavy-duty foil. Heat the grill to medium-high heat on one side. Place ribs on UNLIT side and cook for 90 minutes.
- To prepare in conventional oven--wrap ribs in foil as above and cook in a preheated 350F/180C oven for 90 minutes.
- To finish with sauce--remove the ribs from the foil, brush generously with the sauce and cook over direct heat until sauce caramelizes; about 5 minutes each side. If you cooked them in the oven, place under the broiler until the sauce caramelizes.