Here's lookin' at you, rib.
Mediterranean Barbecue Ribs
I smoked up a batch of ribs in my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker over the weekend. Half the batch was done using my usual rib rub but for the other half, I wanted to try something different.
A couple months back, I saw a post on Eating Club Vancouver doing "Greek Ribs with Tzatziki". It was an adaptation of a recipe by Peter M of Kalofagas called "Baby Back Ribs from the Greek Side". It looked so delicious, I knew then that I had to try the recipe. But instead of baking my ribs in the oven, I would smoke them in my smoker.
Rib Rub Adaptations
Almost any recipe can be adapted, especially when certain ingredients are called for that you do not have. Here are the changes I made:
- The original recipe calls for "baby back" or loin back ribs. To me, baby backs are just too expensive. I like to use pork spareribs instead.
- The original recipe calls for onion powder and garlic powder. I like to use granulated onion and garlic because I find it easier to blend them with the other ingredients compared to powder.
- The original recipe calls for ground bay leaves. I tried to grind them up in a spice grinder like Eating Club Vancouver did, but only managed to turn them into fine pieces, not a powder. So I took out our mortar and pestle and ground them down by hand.
- The original recipe calls for oregano, thyme and sweet paprika. I used Turkish oregano, French thyme, and Smoked Spanish Paprika. This is why I'm calling this rub a Mediterranean rib rub.
- The recipe calls for lemon pepper. For some reason, lemon pepper is not in our pantry. I left it out, but in retrospect I should have used fresh ground black peppercorns and lemon zest.
- The original recipe calls for seasoning salt, another ingredient not in our pantry. But I do keep a jar of "secret spice" mix that I used instead. (The spice mix is secret because it is a mix of different rib rubs I've developed over the years and I don't know the exact ingredient list or amounts any more.)
- The original recipe did not call for salt. But when I tasted it, I thought it could use some.
Mediterranean Rib Rub
Mediterranean Rib Rub Recipe(adapted from Kalofagas.blogspot.com)
1 Tbsp granulated onion
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
1 tsp. ground bay
1 tsp. dry Turkish oregano
1 tsp. dry French thyme
1 Tbsp. "secret spice" mix
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika
Mix the ingredients well and sprinkle them onto the ribs, on the bone side as well as the meat side. Let that sit while you start the coals for the smoker.
Rubbing Mediterranean Ribs
The ribs went in the WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) cooker, which was running at around 250*F in the dome cover. The charcoal was lump mesquite charcoal, and I used a combination of pecan and apple wood for smoke.
Mediterranean Barbecue Ribs on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
The ribs cooked for about 3 and a half hours in the smoke before I pulled them. They had a really pretty bark on the outside, and a nice, deep smoke ring all around the meat. Though most of the fat was cooked out, the meat was still juicy. Looks good, eh?
Mediterranean Barbecue Ribs
Mediterranean Barbecue Rib Results
Overall, I'd say that these ribs were some of the best I've had in a while. They had lots of subtle flavors compared to the bolder and more straightforward flavors of my usual salt/pepper/sugar/garlic/onion rub. I noticed the paprika right off the bat. But I felt that it could have used more oregano.
Everyone enjoyed the ribs, even our friends' 3 year-old son, Thomas.
Thomas Enjoying Mediterranean Barbecue Ribs
Next time around, I'll definitely add the lemon and the pepper. I'm also tempted to reduce the amount of paprika and increase the oregano. There are some other herbs and spices I'm tempted to try as well. But, all in good time. I'm just glad to know I have another good rib rub recipe to add to my repertoire.
Do you have a favorite rib rub recipe? Leave a comment and tell us about it!