Sammy Cahn's Hawaiian Barbecued Spare Ribs
2 racks of lean spare ribs (weighing about 4 lbs.)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey (or dark molasses or maple syrup)
1/3 cup pineapple juice (or cider vinegar)
2 1/2 tsps. fresh lemon (or lime) juice
1/16 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1-inch piece ginger root, minced (or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger)
2 tbsps. golden sherry (or sweet vermouth)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Trim off any excess fat from spare ribs; set aside. Combine all ingredients for marinade by shaking in covered glass jar (or in blender). Place ribs in shallow glass dish. Spoon marinade over ribs, turn, cover. Marinate ribs 3-6 hours in refrigerator, turning often.
For outdoor barbecuing:
Spare ribs will char quickly unless heat is kept low and fire well-controlled. Wrap ribs in aluminum foil packet sealing ends; place over indirect heat. Replenish fire, adding briquettes as needed. Flame flare-ups can also be kept under control by spraying fire with water. Cook spare ribs in packet for about 40 minutes. Then open packet and baste ribs continuously for the next 20 minutes (or until ribs are crisp and brown). Serves 4-6.
For indoor cooking:
Place ribs in foil-lined baking pan. Cook in preheated 450 degrees F. oven 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F., oven-roast about 1 hour longer, basting often.
Thoughts: Pork requires thorough cooking. The meat is done when pink juice no longer flows from fleshy part of meat. Spare ribs are delicious served with Chinese duck sauce and hot Chinese mustard (both available in Oriental food shops). Serve with fruit kabobs (hot or cold) made from pineapple chunks, candied kumquats, sliced water chestnuts, green pepper chunks and cherry tomatoes.
Embellishments: The basic barbecue sauce is fabulous for preparing the holiday bird: Add 1/3 cup peanut (or corn) oil to other ingredients. Select Rock Cornish hens, split in half and flatten broiler-fryer chickens, quartered (takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour on outdoor barbecue; slightly longer in oven) or boneless breasts of chicken (available in most supermarkets); broiler-fryer turkey (weigh about 6-8 lbs. each), quartered; whole squab or ducks, quartered. Vary ingredients to complement the fowl. Use Bar-le-Duc jelly, Damson plum preserves or apricot chutney for turkey (or chicken); substitute fresh orange, apple cider or juice from pickled peaches for pineapple juice; ground mace, grated orange, lime or lemon rind gives wonderful pungency to the sauce.
Finally, for fabulous wild duck: alter basic formula using 1 cup each of the following: honey, soy sauce and "booze" (one part brandy, one part Cointreau or golden sherry). Cook ducks whole in Chinese oven (sold on West Coast in gourmet shops, or through mail order catalog from specialty household stores) or on spit in motor-driven barbecue with hood.