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Flor De Jamaica Ribs – a unique BBQ recipe
Harness the incredible natural color of Flor de Jamaica (dried hibiscus flowers) to create these vividly glazed pork ribs.
Recently, I took a trip to Mexico City & Monterrey on a mission for culinary inspiration. Yes, I ate a ton of tacos (and it did not suck). But I also got to explore markets, find new ingredients, discover unusual flavors and even eat a couple grasshoppers.
Mexico has incredible and varied traditions of barbecue and live fire cooking (cabrito, barbacoa, asada etc). But there are some hardcore local parilleros who are super obsessed with recreating the type of BBQ made famous just north of the border, in Texas. They’re not alone, course, as this phenomena is happening all over the world.
As I got to meet some of these barbecuenthusiasts, I found it amusing that I had travelled to their country to explore their cuisines, yet they were trying to recreate the food of my home state. But, why bring both worlds together? Use the incredible wealth of Mexican ingredients with the knowhow and technique of Texas BBQ? ¡Si se puede!
Flor de Jamaica (pronounced ha-MIKE-a) are the dried flowers of the hibiscus plant. They are most commonly used to brew an incredibly refreshing tea. I think it actually tastes pretty similar to rosehip. But the real wow factor of Jamaica is the incredible color – a deep and vivid fuschia shade.
You can purchase Flor de Jamaica from Mexican groceries (or a lot of regular groceries here in Texas). And of course, you can always easily buy them online.
I am always looking for ways to bring a bright pop of red to my pork ribs. In the past, I experimented with a Big Red glaze which looked amazing, but I didn’t love that it was all thanks to artificial coloring. Then, I developed my Hardcore Carnivore Red seasoning, which is an all-natural bright red. Here’s how HC Red ribs look before cooking:
But, I always love finishing my ribs with a sauce or glaze. Preferably one that boosts not only the flavor, but appearance. Enter: Flor de Jamaica rib glaze to finish off this amazing and exotic rack of bbq ribs.
Flor De Jamaica Pork Ribs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1.5 cups flor de jamaica
- 1/4 t chipotle powder
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (plus extra for spritzing)
- 2 racks st louis ribs
- 3-4 tablespoons Hardcore Carnivore Red rub
- Start by preparing the glaze. Place sugar and water into a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and add in flor de jamaica, then steep for 30-40 minutes. Strain the liquid and return it to the saucepan, discarding the spent flowers. Add in the chipotle powder and cider vinegar, then return the to heat to reduce and thicken a further 10-14 minutes. Allow glaze to cool.
- Fire up a smoker to run at 225f. Cherry, apple and hickory woods work really well with pork. While the smoker is preheating, prepare the ribs.
- Pat ribs dry with a paper towel. If preferred, remove the membrane. Sprinkle the racks liberally with Hardcore Carnivore Red seasoning, ensuring all sides are coated. Allow seasoning to form a paste by letting it sit and sweat for 20-30 minutes.
- In a spray bottle, combine some water and the extra cider vinegar. Place the ribs in the smoker and cook for three hours, spritzing every 30 minutes or so.
- After three hours, wrap the ribs in a double layer of foil and return to the smoker for a further two hours.
- Unwrap the ribs and discard the foil. Paint the top of the ribs with a generous amount of the flor de jamaica glaze, then cook a further 5-10 minutes to set. If you prefer a sweeter and more mirrorlike finish, glaze the ribs once you have removed them from the smoker.
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