When entertaining a crowd, it often seems that space on the grill is at a premium. For that reason, rather than a long slow grilling over indirect heat, I sometimes choose to tea-braise my ribs and then quickly finish on the grill!
Note: Once they are tea-braised, they may be held at that point warm for up to two hours, or chilled for up to 2 days and then finished on the grill right before serving.
Rub the ribs with the tea and spice rub. Wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
When Ready to Cook Ribs
Pre-heat the oven to 300°F
When ready to cook the ribs bring the 3 cups of water to a boil and steep the Pu-Erh tea leaves for 6 to 8 minutes. Strain and discard leaves.
Combine the steeped Pu-Erh tea with 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce or the smoky barbecue sauce shown below.
Place the ribs into a large roasting pan. Pour the barbecue sauce/Pu-Erh mixture over the ribs. Cover the pan with foil and place in the pre-heated oven.
Cook covered in the oven for 1 hour or until ribs are tender. Turn the ribs every 20 minutes while they cook
The ribs may be enjoyed at this point, but are even better if finished on the grill over direct heat, just long enough to add some external charring to the meat. (Photo by Julian Landa)
Black Tea and Spice Rub
This rub is infinitely changeable. Feel free to adjust to your own personal style. It is always a good idea to make extra which you can save for later, or give as gifts in small jars or pouches.
Combine all ingredients. If not using immediately, store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Black Tea Barbecue Sauce
Bring water to a boil and steep the Lapsang Souchong tea leaves for 6 minutes. Strain and discard the leaves.
Return the steeped tea to a medium saucepan. Combine in other ingredients and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and homogenous. Stir periodically.