There are several components to these ribs but they’re well worth the time. The recipe is scaled for four racks of ribs, but can easily be adjusted for larger batches with little extra effort. Cochon uses Curly’s St. Louis-style ribs in the restaurant—they’re two-pound racks trimmed of cartilage and fat.
Full racks or babyback ribs will work just fine and are readily available at any supermarket. They smoke their ribs for 4½ hours in a specialized smoker, but at home, it’s easier to cook the ribs in the oven and finish on the grill, so we’ve included that technique.
4 racks pork ribs
1 batch rib rub (recipe follows)
½ cup chicken stock
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp honey
Barbecue sauce (any brand)
Watermelon pickles, diced (available at Gourmet Warehouse and other specialty stores)
Cochon Rib Rub
2 cups brown sugar
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tbsp ground dry mustard
1 tbsp ground fennel
3 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cayenne
2 tbsp seedless pepper flakes (available at Asian markets, but regular pepper flakes will also work)
½ cup ground chili powder
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp hot smoked paprika (both available at Whole Foods under the LaChinata name, or substitute plain paprika)
Prepare ribs by removing the thin membrane from the bone side of the rack. (A dry dishtowel, fingernails and patience are the best aides.) Start in a corner and scrape the bone until the membrane starts to lift up, then grab it with a dishtowel and peel it off. As an alternative, you could score the membrane by running a knife along the bones—this prevents the ribs from curling up. But it’s worth the extra time to remove the membrane since it never really breaks down.
Liberally apply the Cochon rib rub (recipe below) and leave to marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Remove ribs and shake off any excess rub and juice that have accumulated; do not rinse them.
Lay 2 racks of ribs on a length of aluminum foil long enough to wrap and seal them. Repeat with the other racks. In a saucepan, combine chicken stock, garlic and honey and bring to a simmer. Pour half of the mixture into each package and seal.
Cook the packages on a sheet pan in a 275°F oven for 2½ to 3 hours or until the meat easily pulls away from the bone. Cool until ready to use or grill immediately.
Grill the ribs until hot over medium-high heat. Apply an even layer of barbecue sauce to the ribs and allow it to caramelize lightly.
Move ribs to a serving platter and sprinkle a liberal amount of watermelon pickles over top. Don’t skimp on the watermelon pickle—the idea is to offset the spicy BBQ sauce and complement the meaty ribs. You should get some of each in every bite.
Cochon Rib Rub
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Will keep for several months.