cedar-planked, dry-rubbed pork ribs with baked Walla Walla onion rings

It’s official: hubby and I are hooked on grilling with cedar planks.  Salmon is the classic application for cedar-plank grilling, but we discovered that grilling pork ribs “low and slow” over cedar planks yields pretty tasty results.

We teamed up with my beer-loving brother for this meal, so be sure to check out his post, aptly titled “ribs and beer,” to read about the well-traveled, Belgium IPA that we enjoyed with these ribs.

cedar-planked, dry-rubbed pork ribs

serves 3 (4-5 ribs each)

Ingredients:

1 rack of pork back ribs (about 2 pounds)

1 or 2 untreated cedar planks (depending on size, you may need to cut the rack of ribs to fit the planks, as we did)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ancho chile powder

2 teaspoons dried garlic granules

2 teaspoons dried thyme

3 teaspoons ground cumin

Method:

Soak the cedar planks in water overnight.

Prepare the dry rub:  Combine all the dry ingredients, brown sugar through cumin, in a small bowl.

Prepare the ribs:  Rinse the ribs with water and pat dry with paper towels.  Rub the spice mixture onto the fleshy parts of the ribs, using as little or as much dry rub as you like.  Keep any unused rub in a sealed container for future use.

Grill the ribs!  Grill the planked ribs over low heat with the lid closed until the pork is cooked through but tender, a little more than an hour.  (The planks may smoke a bit and they will become very aromatic.)  Remove the planks from the grill and allow the ribs to rest 5 minutes before cutting apart the ribs.  The ribs will be tasty as is, but you can serve them with BBQ sauce (I give you permission, haha).

**You can re-use the planks two or three times more.  Wash the planks with water only to remove any food bits (do not use soap because that will penetrate the wood and taste yucky, I imagine!).  Wrap the planks with plastic wrap and store them in the freezer.  Discard the boards when they’re too charred, warped and/or are no longer fragrant after being soaked in water.

It seems that sweet Walla Walla onions are in the store for only a couple of weeks each summer and then they’re gone.  If you see them at the store, take a break from yellow onions and snatch some up!

Making onion rings is a great way to showcase this onion’s sweet flavor, which is intensified by baking the onion rings in the oven.  This recipe involves the same breading station method that I used to make crunchy tofu sticks, and I credit food blogger Valerie Passonno, who recently raised my awareness of National Onion Ring Day, with the inspiration for this recipe.

baked Walla Walla onion rings

3 -4 servings

Ingredients:

1 large Walla Walla onion

1 pint (2 cups) buttermilk

2 eggs

all-purpose flour

panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

canola cooking spray

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare a breading station including four components: (1) buttermilk; (2) flour mixed with a pinch each of salt and pepper; (3) two eggs scrambled with a splash of water and pepper and (4) panko breadcrumbs.  Set up the station with bowls lined up left to right in the order listed above.

To prepare the rings, first slice off the top and root of the onion, so that the top and bottom are flat.  Then, cut the onion into 1-inch slices (you should get only 4 or 5 slices) and use your fingers to carefully press out the onion’s layers.  You should end up with a mound of rings!

Soak the onion rings in the buttermilk.  After about 5 minutes of soaking, start processing the onion rings through the breading station.  To bread the onion rings, use tongs to press both sides of each ring in the flour, then the egg (shake off excess) and then the breadcrumbs.

Line two baking sheets with parchment and place them to the right of the breadcrumbs so that they’re handy for depositing the onion rings as you bread them.  Arrange the breaded onion rings on the baking sheets (try putting very small ones inside very large ones to maximize space) and spray the tops with cooking spray.  Bake the onion rings for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve the onion rings with ketchup.  Yum!

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2 responses to “cedar-planked, dry-rubbed pork ribs with baked Walla Walla onion rings

  1. Pingback: Ribs and Beer « Chad in the Internet

  2. Thanks for the ping! I love that method with the tofu and onions for a lot of different foods. And the Walla Walla onions sound great. As someone who has lived in Georgia and Florida, I’m a fan of Vidalia sweet onions, but the WW intrigue me!
    And I’m a big craft beer fan, so I checked out your brother’s blog. Now I need a drink 🙂

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