With this recipe, the hot brightness and fragrance of fresh ginger mayo and the acidic tang of Ume plums cuts the flavorful charred fattiness of grilled pork ribs. My dear friend Ayako Iino, a Japanese chef who I met while cooking at Oliveto Restaurant, has created a new line Ume-based products. I became fascinated with this cured plum while helping Ayako process the dried and salted plums at Full Belly Farm in the summer of 2015. We placed soft, partially desiccated plums in containers with red shiso infused plum vinegar while a gentle, late summer breeze swept through almond trees and tomato vines. You can purchase Ayako’s Ume plums and her other authentic Japanese condiments and preserves in San Francisco Bay Area food stores and online through Good Eggs.
The Ume plum paste, rice vinegar, miso, and sesame act to tenderize and flavor the meat, in many ways performing as a barbeque sauce would, without the tired, often overused flavors in most barbeque sauces.
2.5-3 pounds spare ribs, St. Louis style
5 salted Ume plums
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow miso
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil for the grill rag
1. Break apart five Ume plums and place them in 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar.
2. With a metal spoon, mash the plums into the vinegar so that a paste forms.
3. Place the paste in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
4. Bring the ume-vinegar mixture out of the refrigerator, and whisk in 2 tablespoons of miso and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
5. Coat the rib rack with the mixture, and let them marinate for 8-10 hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
7. Place the marinated ribs on a roasting rack with a pan underneath.
8. Roast the ribs for 45-50 minutes in the oven.
9. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
10. Bring the rib rack out of the oven when the grill is hot.
11. Rub an oil damp rag over the grill grates.
12. Grill the rib rack on each side until it is caramelized and deep brown. Aim for about 25 minutes of cooking time on the grill.
13. Once the rack is caramelized, pull it from the grill and allow it to rest in a roasting pan tented with aluminum foil.
14. After the rack of ribs has rested for 10 minutes, slice them into single ribs and serve them with the Fresh Ginger Mayo recipe that follows.
Fresh Ginger Mayo:
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (or thinly sliced and pounded to a paste in a mortar)
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon Alaea sea salt (or another sea salt)
1 cup of organic safflower oil
1. Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and turn it on to blend.
2. Then, with the food processor on, drop by drop slowly add in the safflower oil. After you’ve incorporated about half of the oil, you can begin to add it at a drizzle.
3. You may need to stop the processor midway through and scrape the bottom of the processor to make sure that the ginger and yolk are not clinging to it.
4. Once all of the oil is emulsified, check the seasoning. You may need to add more lemon juice, ginger, or salt, depending on what you like and the acidity of the lemon and intensity of the ginger.