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meatiest ribs ever!

My mother-in-law has been visiting from Illinois since Super Bowl Sunday, thankfully the weather has been absolutely gorgeous! On Saturday, Marissa and I took her out to the Queen Creek Olive Mill, and then we drove down the road a little spell to the Pork Shop, two of my favorite places in town. At the Pork Shop, I bought green chili summer sausage, thick-cut bacon, brats, and baby back ribs so meaty that they looked more like pork chops when sliced between the rib bones! Amazing is the only word to describe the pork you can find there!

I’m naming this BBQ sauce, “south of southern” because it has not only Southern Comfort but also a healthy dose of Kahlua and jalapeno for a south-of-the-border flavor too.

South of Southern Baby Back Ribs

1 cup Southern Comfort
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 roasted and peeled jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, then minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup Mocha or regular Kahlua liqueur
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 rack baby back pork ribs, about 3 pounds, cut in half

Place the Southern Comfort in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and zest and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the ketchup, Kahlua, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire, molasses, Sriracha, and reduced Southern Comfort and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, for about 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Using a blender or a food processor, puree, on high speed until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, to taste and cool down to room temperature.

Place the ribs in a gallon-size zip-lock bag and add half of the barbecue sauce. Seal, toss to coat, and let marinate, refrigerate, for 12 hours.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill to medium heat. Remove the ribs from the marinade, shaking to remove any excess. Place the rib sections, meaty side up, on the grill. Cover and cook until marinade starts to set, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn and baste lightly with the marinade. Cover and grill until nearly cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn and baste again. Cook uncovered without basting until the sauce is thick and the ribs are completely cooked through 10 to 15 minutes. Discard any unused marinade.

Heat the remaining half of the barbecue sauce. Slice the pork into individual ribs and serve with warm sauce.

Serves 4

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