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Extra Aqua Vitae Nulla Salus


How I did it

Miguel's 2008 prize-winning riboff recipe.

Rib selection:

Baby backs from Los Paisanos in Brooklyn.


Marinated overnight in equal parts apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and saltwater. With chopped leek, fresh garlic, and parsley.


Salt and pepper, applied lightly.


I used one half the floor of a charcoal grill for hardwood charcoal (provided by Paul - thanks!) and the other half had a pan filed with water which came to a boil quickly. The meat was then cooked over the water half in a closed grill for two hours, smoking it thoroughly.


I set the meat in a pan filled with the marinade (sans veggies) and some beef broth, boiling on a grill. Covered in tinfoil the meat cooked here for 20 min after the smoking.

BBQ sauce:

I made a sauce by heating and mashing blackberries, and adding serrano peppers I pureed in a coffee grinder. The ratio for the sauce was: 2 hot peppers/ 20 blackberries/ 3 sugarcubes / 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.


After the braising I applied a pinch of the salt and pepper rub and a small amount of the BBQ sauce to each half rack, cut the ribs for single serving and set a few fresh blackberries on top. On the side, sauce for dipping, and some thin sliced potatoes I fried in bacon fat while I was braising.

Honestly it was great to participate and every other contestant had knockout ribs - I'd love to see those recipes too. See you in February for the winter contest.

Photo by Sam