In our books, there are very few meats that compare to the perfect rack of ribs. So what better way to kick off Chill’s first issue of the summer than with a rib recipe made especially for our readers? Naturally we turned to a restaurant well known for their rib making mastery, a restaurant whose mantra “Low and slow, with lots of smoke," conjures up mouth watering images of the kinds of ribs we could only imagine – until now. We turned to Highway 61 and head chef Jason Cohen.
Of all the restaurants the GTA offers, the authentic barbecue smokehouse foods available at Highway 61 are a rarity. This isn’t your typical “put some ribs on the menu and call ourselves a smokehouse" establishment. The founders of Highway 61 went straight to the Grand Daddy of barbecue hot spots during planning stages: the dirty south.
Founder Kerry Knoll explains, “We headed south along Highway 61 to a BBQ joint in St. Louis, and then devoured rib racks in Memphis. We gouged ourselves on pulled pork in Vicksburg and savoured brisket in Baton Rouge. We landed in New Orleans, feasting on Cajun shrimp and headed west to a roadside spot outside Austin." Their gluttonous trek continued along Highway 61 (hence the name of the restaurant), compiling and bringing back elements from each stop. The result is a genuine barbecue experience and old-fashioned southern tradition that produces the most authentic barbecue joint north of the 49th parallel. Throw in head chef Jason Cohen who has been running kitchens since the age of 19 (20 years ago) and you’ve got a barbecue joint rivaling those from the likes of St. Louis.
1. Baby Back Ribs & Brining Ingredients
4-6 full baby back ribs
4 cups hot water
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1 litre apple juice
8 cups cold water
1. Dissolve and whisk mixture of apple juice, kosher salt, brown sugar and hot water.
2. Pour in the cold water and mix thoroughly.
3. Take a sharp knife and score the back (skin) side of each rack of ribs (five or six times per rack).
4. Place all racks Into the brine solution for no more than one hour.
2. Apple Cider Chilli Glaze Ingredients
2 cups ketchup
2 fl.oz liquid smoke
16 fl.oz generic apple cider
1 fl.oz lemon juice
1 fl.oz soy sauce
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 fl.oz honey
10 cloves garlic minced
¼ tsp black pepper
2 fl.oz paprika
1 fl.oz Worchestershire sauce
4 fl.oz apple juice
6 fl.oz brown sugar
2 fl.oz chili powder
1. Place apple cider in sauce pot with medium heat until it is reduced to one quarter.
2. Add the reduced cider with all remaining glaze ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly until blended well.
3. Dry Rub Ingredients
1 cup paprika
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp ground corriander
1 tbsp garlic powder
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp cumin
1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
2. Remove ribs from brine and pat dry each rack with a paper towel to ensure it is dry.
3. Lightly and evenly sprinkle the dry rub on both sides of each rack.
1. Preheat smoker to 185°F using hickory or white oak wood chips.
2. Set aside half of your glaze for basting and use the remaining baste both sides of each rack of ribs with the glaze and place on smoker wire racks.
3. Cook ribs for between 4-4 ½ hours. Baste ribs every hour. When bones are loose around the meat they’re ready.
4. Remove ribs from smoker and finish on your BBQ grill for one minute on each side, using the other half of your glaze.