It’s difficult to remember a holiday growing up without the smell of Pecan or Hickory smoke wafting in the humid Texas air. Most holidays meant brisket, slow smoked for hours, with a perfect black pepper bark. Smoke is in my blood. Since my bittersweet departure from the Lone Star State, I’ve ventured beyond the smoked beef and turkey I grew up on, however.
This smoke session, I decided to bring a bit of Vietnamese flare to a rack of Baby Back Ribs we’d picked up. The ribs married for several hours in crushed lemongrass stalks, fresh ginger, and a splash or so of Fish Sauce and Tamari. I smoked the rack about four hours with Pecan wood, my favorite, and the ribs developed a bright and herbaceous bark, as I basted it with Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew. Letting the grilled dishes found on Vietnamese menus inspire me, I plated the finished ribs with vermicelli tossed in a teaspoon or so of Nuoc Cham, crushed peanuts, and lime. We added on a side of Sesame Garlic Bok Choy for a bit of greeny. Aside from being fabulously delicious, the meal was excitingly new but cozy and familiar and will definitely stay on my grilling rotation, as the rich, smokey pork absolutely fell in love with the fresh, acidic kiss of lemongrass and ginger.
Lemongrass Pork Ribs
1 rack Baby Back Ribs
1/4 cup rough chopped fresh Lemongrass
1″ piece fresh Ginger, minced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tbsp Fish Sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup Tamari
Juice and Zest from 2 Limes
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the ribs) and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning per your preference. Place rack of ribs in a storage bag (cut in half, if needed) and then pour the marinade over the ribs. Press as much air out of the bag as possible while sealing. Place the ribs in the fridge 3 hours to overnight.
Alternately, bath the ribs in the wet rub then tightly wrap in plastic wrap before placing in the fridge. (I know, I know! The environment! But, I don’t use it very often). If you are not using plastic, or attempting to reduce, then store in a reusable airtight container with lid.
Roast the marinated rib rack in the oven at 325 F or offset smoke at 225 F until an internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees. After resting a few minutes, slice the ribs and serve with your favorite sides or assemble yourself a refreshing Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowl with extra Nuoc Cham.