A taste of South Valley


Many regions of the country in the southern barbecue belt specialize in their own unique barbecue. Many of those different styles of barbecue can be found here in California. I appreciate these different styles, but it is high time we had our own unique barbecue. This week, I introduce a style of barbecue and sauce residents of the South Valley can finally call their own.
When developing a barbecue recipe, I considered a few important aspects: We are all very busy, so as much as I like barbecue and appreciate its “low and slow” aspect, the cooking time still needs to be quick. The meat I choose was baby back ribs because they do not take too long to cook.
A flavor profile unique to South Valley needed to be chosen. The ribs must have garlic. Since this weekend is Gilroy’s annual Garlic Festival, why not use it in abundance? I was also influenced by our local award-winning wines.
My Mediterranean heritage brought together fresh rosemary and olive oil to create a wet rub, and these two ingredients also complement the garlic. The barbecue sauce should not be runny and needed a thickener and emulsifier for the olive oil and other wet ingredients. I borrowed from South Carolina sauces made with mustard. Instead of using yellow mustard, Dijon mustard was a better match. Barbecue usually tastes good with a sweet sauce, but I didn’t want these to be overly sweet, so a touch of white balsamic vinegar gave them the right balance.
Next time you barbecue, consider these fantastic ribs. You’ll be able to tell your family and friends how they are the South Valley’s own contribution to the world of barbecue.
South Valley Barbecue Baby Back Ribs
Serves 6
2 racks of baby back ribs
For the wet rub:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons rosemary, finely minced
15 cloves of garlic, finely minced
For the barbecue sauce:
3 reserved tablespoons wet rub
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup wine, Riesling or similar
Step 1: If not already done, remove the membrane from the concave portion of the ribs, rinse in water, pat dry and cut the ribs in half between two rib bones. Blend together the olive oil, pepper, salt, rosemary and garlic, then reserve three tablespoons for the barbecue sauce. Divide the wet rub between the two racks of baby back ribs and thoroughly coat them. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2: Set up your grill for indirect grilling or your smoker, according to manufactures directions, to a heat of 300 degrees. Once ready, place the ribs on the grill or in the smoker. Cook for 2 1/2 hours.
Step 3: To make the barbecue sauce, whisk together the reserved wet rub, Dijon mustard, white balsamic vinegar and the Riesling until it is thoroughly mixed.
Step 4: Once the 2 1/2 hours has passed, brush the barbecue sauce over the ribs and allow the ribs to continue to cook an additional 30 to 45 minutes, or until the ribs are tender. Allow the ribs to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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