This month we’ve fallen in love with the braai all over again. It happens every year at this time, when evenings are longer, the kids go to bed later, those delicious braai aromas waft through the neighbourhood and I rediscover my love for cooking in the great outdoors.
And so I present to you our sticky, not-too-sweet harissa and honey ribs. This marinade certainly has a wow-factor – it’s not packed with sugar but rather a little Moroccan magic. Just the right amount of spice and a flavour kick that only our hero Harissa can give!
With love from all at the Palace,
You will need
± 2-2.5 kg baby back pork ribs
For the dry rub:
6-8 Tbsp Ras el Hanout spice – this is a Moroccan spice blend, usually made up of cumin, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, pepper and paprika and you can buy it from most supermarkets.*
1½ Tbsp smoked sea salt
½ Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the basting sauce:
Reserved juices from the meat
3 heaped tsp Pesto Princess Harissa Paste
3 Tbsp runny honey
* If you would like to make your own Ras el Hanout mix 1 tsp each of cumin, ground ginger, salt and black pepper, ½ tsp each of cinnamon, ground coriander, cayenne, allspice and cloves. Shake all of these spices up in an empty pesto jar and don’t stress if you don’t have all of these spices – improvise with what you do have.
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place each rack of ribs on a layer of heavy duty foil.
2. Combine the Ras el Hanout, sea salt, brown sugar, garlic powder and black pepper and rub this mix all over the ribs. Wrap each rack individually in foil and place on a baking sheet.
3. Bake the ribs until they are tender but not falling apart – this should take around an hour to an hour and a half. Remove the ribs from the foil and strain the meat juices into a bowl, set aside.
TIP: You can prepare the ribs up until this point and leave in the fridge overnight – making them perfect to just toss on the braai for a quick treat, or you can let them cool so that they are easier to handle before transferring them to a medium-hot braai.
4. To make the basting sauce, whisk together the meat juices, honey and Pesto Princess Harissa Paste.
5. Grill the ribs, basting them with the barbecue sauce mixture and turning them often, until they’re deliciously charred in spots.
Serve hot off the braai, cut into individual riblets and let everyone get stuck in.
Recipe and food styling by Michelle Parkin.
Michael Olivier’s Choice
Boland Cellar Cappupino CCinotage 2015
This bright, berry-fruited wine with overt coffee mocha flavours will work well with the spicy ribs.
It looks like Bottled under screwcap in a Burgundy shaped bottle. Elegant black label with white and red lettering. In the glass, a rich opaque plum at the core which pales out to purple garnet at the rim.
It smells like Rich sappy red and black berries and coffee mocha.
It tastes like Rich and round from entry to the tail. Generous berries, ripe and rustic. Coffee mocha and oak spices supportive of the fruit. Good balancing acidity. Lip-smacking stuff.