Earlier this year, a good friend asked if I would create some images for a hard cider guide he was writing. Or maybe I volunteered and he accepted. The important thing is that I ended up in Portland shooting for HipCider. It was a blast and kicked off my cider education.
While photographing over twenty variations of cider, I tasted more than a few, soon realizing that ciders were every bit as varied as craft beer and wine. It wasn’t long before I had picked out my favorites. Add cider to the growing list of things I’m snobby about (pizza, ramen, Mexican food, etc.).
We were talking about pairing cider with food and it wasn’t long until I started thinking about things I could cook using cider. I decided I was going to do some hard cider recipes and do some cross-promotion between shootwhatyoueat.com and hipcider.com. This was the first time I’ve ever really sat down to create a recipe for a specific purpose.
Admittedly, pork dishes are the low-hanging fruit (no pun) because everyone knows pork and apples go together. I figured a BBQ sauce using hard apple cider was a good place to get my feet wet. I don’t have a smoker, and trying to do ribs on a regular grill is just plain insane, so, I slow cooked the ribs: first in a dry rub sitting on a bed of onions, and then hard cider.
I put chipotle in the sauce because I like the kick and it adds some of the smokiness to the ribs that could be missing. I also finished the ribs on the grill to sear the meat and caramelize the sauce.
I don’t make ribs a lot, but I’ve made my fair share. I can honestly say that these are the most tender, fall off the bone and delicious ribs I have ever made.