Barbecue time

Apricot-ginger baby back ribs photo: elizabeth armstrong

About two years ago, I had to give up my grill. The apartment building I live in started enforcing a California fire code that bans grills with a propane tank larger than one pound. While I have always felt comfortable cooking in a kitchen, I had a feeling of emptiness without an open flame to char my meat on. I had no faith that any of the little portable grills could meet my needs and satisfy my desire for fire.

About six months ago, I decided that I couldn’t live without a grill anymore, and took a chance on the Weber Q. My research showed that it could produce plenty of heat and had enough grill space to fit my needs. And while I can’t roast a turkey on it, I can grill a couple of rib-eye steaks any time.

But my true test for any grill is how well it can barbecue ribs, and the Q did not disappoint. And all my time in the kitchen these last few years has given me the opportunity to try flavors not normally associated with barbecue, which has led to the these two rib recipes. The first is an apricot-ginger glaze for my favorite ribs, baby backs. For the second recipe, I created a lemongrass-sweet-chili marinade for flanken-style beef short ribs. The flanken-style rib is most often used in Korean cuisine, and is created by thinly slicing the short ribs across the bone.

It’s great to be grilling again, and a pleasure to share it with you.


Serves 2–3

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (use a Microplane grater if possible)
  • 8 ounces apricot fruit spread (I prefer the 100% fruit, no-sugar-added style)
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 rack baby back ribs

Heat grill to medium-high heat. In a mixing bowl, combine ginger, apricot spread, and vinegar and mix well. Set aside.

Combine spices and sprinkle evenly over meat side of ribs.

Place ribs bone side down on the grill, and cook covered for approximately 20 minutes. Turn ribs over and cook an additional 20 minutes. Test for doneness.

Note: I have two ways of testing for doneness. The first is to see if the meat has pulled back from the end of the bones by about half an inch. The second is to lift the ribs from one end; the ribs should flex easily.

When ribs appear done, generously rub glaze over meat side and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn ribs over, glaze bone side, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut between bones and serve.


Serves 2–3

  • 1 (13-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 6 ounces sweet chili garlic sauce
  • 6 ounces sake
  • 1 thick stalk lemongrass
  • 2 pounds flanken-style beef short ribs

Heat grill to high heat. In a mixing bowl, combine liquid ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Cut off end of lemongrass and discard, then slice stalk lengthwise. With the flat side of your knife, pound stalk to release the oils. Place lemongrass in bottom of a nonreactive container large enough to hold all ingredients.

Lay ribs on top of lemongrass and add liquid mixture. Cover container and marinate ribs 8–24 hours. Grill about 5 minutes on each side or until there are significant grill marks. Remove from heat, and serve whole pieces immediately.

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