This post will explore the pros and cons of marinating ribs in yogurt or more specifically dahi, an Indian yogurt. We will be using the same technique used when making Chicken Tikka, but with American flavors. It has been scientifically proven that yogurt help flavors penetrate into meat faster and deeper. Heston Blumenthal actually put two pieces of meat, one with yogurt one without, into an MRI machine overnight and watched the marination in real time. The meat with the yogurt won hands down. check it out : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOuK_dEGGoI .
In this first section I will detail how to make everything. Precise measurement are below. To prepare the yogurt for the base of this marinade. Put the dahi (plain yogurt is fine if you can’t find dahi) in cheese cloth and let it drain overnight. What you will get is a rich creamy cheese that just by itself is good on a bagel.
Now that we have the base its time to add the flavors. I have recently just returned from a trip to Spain. The style over there uses very little spices and focuses on concentrating a few simple flavors. So that is the cooking style I am really into right now, and will be the first test. I figure what fresh fruit or vegetable goes best with ribs? I always like to fall back on the classics, pork with apple sauce. To make the apple sauce I took four Fujii apples cut them into four slices and removed the stems and seeds. I then vacuum packed the apple slices and cooked them in a water bath at 200F for 5 hours. By using the sous vide technique I am ensuring none of the flavors from the apples are lost while cooking. Where can the flavor go, everything is sealed in an airtight bag. After 5 hours the apples should be a beautiful caramel color and soft enough to smash with your hand. Put the bag in the fridge and allow to cool overnight. Without opening the bag smash the apples into a paste. Then open the bag and push the apples through a strainer. Go ahead and taste the best apple sauce you have ever had.
Now the caramelized onions. When onions are caramelized with star anise a very interesting thing happens. A new molecule is formed that is a flavor enhancer for meat. So anytime you have any meat dish I recommend caramelized onions with star anise. The rule of thumb is half a star anise pod for one onion. I like to caramelize my onions with butter on a low heat. Sorry no shortcuts in BBQ low and slow is definitely the name of the game. After the onions have achieved a beautiful caramel color. remove from the heat and take out the star anise. Chop the onions either by hand or in a food processor with the yogurt and apple sauce. How ever you do it ultimately everything should be mixed together and form a creamy yogurt with a pourable consistency.
Marinate the ribs overnight in the yogurt mix.
Now for the glaze. The glaze will give a nice shine to the as well as finishing them with a strong apple flavor. The vinegar will help cut through the natural fat of the ribs as well as the fat from the yogurt. This will help give the ribs a depth of flavor. In a pan mix the cornstarch, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Mix together with a whisk and make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Then bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. The glaze does not need to be refrigerated.
Cooking Times and Temps
Every smoker is different and you will have to learn the personality of your smoker. Although I will give cooking time here I would use that as a rough guide, the internal temperature of the ribs is more important than the actual cooking time. Remember, if your looking you ain’t cooking.
cook at 240F for 3 hours - or until internal temperature reaches 165F
Glaze the ribs then increase the heat to 350F and cook for an additional hour- or until internal temperature reaches 185
2lbs Yogurt (to be clear this is the weight before the yogurt is hung overnight)
2 Yellow Onions Sliced
1 piece Star Anise
40 gr. Butter
4 Apples Large Dice and Seeds Removed
300 gr. Apple cider vinegar
300 gr. Honey
5 gr. Cornstarch
Yogurt Being Hung Overnight in Cheese Cloth
use a bowl to catch the water that drains out
3 Full Racks Marinating in Apple Yogurt with Caramelized Onions
ribs should be marinated overnight but are perfectly good for several days
Hand Smashed Apples
After 5 hours the apples should be a beautiful caramel color and soft enough to smash with your hand
Straining the apples
Without opening the bag smash the apples into a paste. Then open the bag and push the apples through a fine mesh sieve. Go ahead and taste the best apple sauce you have ever had.
Rib glaze coming to a boil
no need to reduce the glaze the cornstarch should thicken it
Once it comes to a boil the glaze should immediately thicken
it should have the consistency of warm syrup
The Ribs should be glazed twice
first one hour before they come out of the smoker second glaze should be as soon as they come out of the smoker