The Buchele Adventure

This is record of the Buchele Adventure, as reported from West Africa.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Smoked Ribs Satay

Smoked Ribs Satay

For years Suzanne and I have been fond of Thai cooking, especially the street food called Satay. In Austin there is this wonderful, but expensive, restaurant we used to treat ourselves to, and we almost always ordered their Chicken Satay as an appetizer.

Over the past few months, I’ve been studying the art of Thai cooking and along with it, to make a pretty decent Satay, either chicken or pork. This is an adaption I call Smoked Ribs Satay. It has all the flavors of a pork satay, but the meat has the texture of ribs. Steaming the ribs after smoking them makes the meat tender and almost falls off the bone.

2 racks of baby back ribs (pork)

1 16” sheet of Wax paper

Extra wide heavy-duty aluminum foil

16x11 pan fitted with wire rack


1 can (14oz) unsweetened coconut milk.

4 tablespoons Yellow Curry Paste. If you don’t have an Asian store nearby that carries Yellow Curry Paste, Thai Kitchen makes a good red curry paste that works as well.

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

1 tablespoon ground whole coriander seed

1 tablespoon whole coriander seed (not ground)

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large zip lock bag. Cut baby back ribs racks in half so they will all fit in the zip lock bag with the marinade. Marinate at least four hours, or as long as 24 hours.

Preheat a smoker (we prefer mesquite wood to smoke) to 250 degrees. Smoke the marinated ribs for one hour meat side up, keeping temperature between 225 and 275, ideally 250 but never above 300. Baste the ribs every 10-15 minutes with the leftover marinade.

After an hour, remove ribs from smoker and place meat side up in the 16x11 pan fitted with a bottom rack (we support the rack in the middle with a broken chopstick).

Top brown the ribs by placing under broiler for 10 minutes, then preheat oven to 250 degrees.

While oven is preheating, add ¼ inch water to bottom of pan and cover ribs with one layer of wax paper. Now seal the pan with aluminum foil. The wax paper separates the smoked meat from aluminum foil which will react and eat holes in the foil allowing steam to escape.

Steam ribs for two hours at 250, but no longer than three hours. Serve as a main dish with rice or an appetizer, then three ribs to a plate. Serve with plenty of warm Satay Sauce.

Satay Sauce

This wonderful sauce is expensive to buy. When Suzanne and I would order Satay at that restaurant of the same name in Austin, they were always tight with the sauce, and we asked for more, which they begrudgingly provided. This sauce is better, and much less expensive.

1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk.

6 tablespoons Massaman curry paste (there is no substitute)

2/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter

7 tablespoons brown sugar (or Palm Sugar)

2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce.

½ t cayenne pepper (optional)

Gently warm the coconut milk in a saucepan until boiling, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the curry paste and blend with a wire whip until well blended. Cook for three minutes. Add peanut butter and stir constantly until smooth. Turn down the heat on low and stir in the sugar until smooth and well blended and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and add fish sauce add if you like things spicy cayenne.

PS: if you need a recipe for homemade Massaman curry paste, let me know and I can send it to you.