Frank Underwood is many things: A husband. A politician. A machiavellian sexual deviant with a bloodlust for power. A purveyor of fine Carolinian barbecue. Opening just for him at 7:30AM is Freddy's Ribs, a southern barbecue joint that we can surmise is serving 'cue up in the style of Underwood's hometown of Gaffney, South Carolina. Just in time for Father's Day, here's three different means by which to achieve that genuine Southern barbecue, even from the confines of a 4th-story walkup.
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp paprika (sub with smoked paprika for oven method)
2 Tbsp ground mustard
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp white pepper
1 Tbsp cumin (optional, omit for oven method)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3 full racks of pork spare ribs
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups tomato puree (sub with 1 1/2 cups ketchup for oven method)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (increase to 3/4 cup for oven method)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground mustard (sub with 1/4 cup yellow mustard for oven method)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup smoky bourbon
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 cup apple juice in a spray bottle
Makes 3 full racks of ribs
Combine first 11 ingredients in a medium bowl, whisk to combine. Pat ribs dry, remove membrane, and coat liberally with dry rub, making sure to cover every nook and cranny. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
In a large saucepan, combine remaining ingredients, whisk to combine, and cook at a bare simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until thick and syrupy. Can be made and refrigerated ahead of time - reheat before use.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to remove the membrane on the back of your ribs. Make a small incision and then, using a paper towel for grip, tear off of the ribs.
Prepare smoker according to manufacturer directions or your favorite time-honored family tradition. Stabilize heat at 225°F - arrange ribs as desired, and smoke for 2-3 hours, or until meat is tender but still holding onto the bones. Repeatedly baste the meat with barbecue sauce and spray with apple juice every 30 minutes. Remove from grill, allow to rest in aluminum foil for 10 minutes before slicing, saucing, and serving.
Oven Method: Liquid Smoke
Prepare dry rub and barbecue sauce as described above, making substitutions as noted in the ingredients list. Prepare ribs as usual, and preheat oven to 250°F. Place the ribs on an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, on a wire rack. Combine whiskey and liquid smoke, and sprinkle evenly over ribs. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and bake for 2-2 1/2 hours, until tender but not falling apart. Uncover, baste with barbecue sauce, and continue to roast for another 1 1/2 hours. Baste with barbecue sauce every time the sauce looks sticky and loses its sheen, every 20-30 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, increase oven temperature to 500F to create a crust on the exterior of the ribs. Brush with sauce, slice, and serve.
Oven Method: Wok Smoke
Prepare ribs as described above (liquid smoke version), but omit liquid smoke. Before sprinkling with whiskey, place ribs on a wire rack. Line a deep wok with aluminum foil, and fill with about a cup of wood chips (hickory & oak). Place over medium-high heat, and cook until just starting to smoke, about 5 minutes. Place ribs on top, and cover with aluminum foil, crimping the edges tightly so no smoke escapes. Lower heat to medium, and smoke for 10 minutes, before removing from the heat and resting for an additional 20. Remove ribs from foil, sprinkle with plain whisky, and continue recipe as described above.