Main Dish

Baby Back Ribs with Stuhlmuller Zin BBQ Sauce and Napa Cabbage Slaw

Stuhlmuller Vineyards

4951 West Soda Rock Lane
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Savory and sweet, these baby back ribs are served with a side of Zinfandel BBQ sauce and napa cabbage slaw with apple and verjus dressing. As BBQ and Zin go perfectly together, we spare some of our Estate Zinfandel to go into the BBQ sauce for this dish to create a fantastic pairing of food and wine.

Zinfandel BBQ Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups Stuhlmuller Estate Zinfandel
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more, to taste
To prepare the sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until limp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, ginger, black pepper, anise seeds and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken slightly, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Pour the sauce into a blender, add the lemon juice and puree until very smooth. Adjust the seasoning with more lemon juice, if desired. Use warm or at room temperature.

Baby Back Ribs

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 racks baby back ribs
To prepare the ribs, in a small bowl, stir together the thyme, salt and black pepper. Rinse the ribs and pat dry. Rub the thyme mixture over both sides of the racks, pressing so it adheres. Wrap each rack separately in heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Prepare a grill for indirect-heat grilling. If using charcoal, ignite 60 briquettes in a chimney starter (or mounded directly on the fire grate). When they're dotted with gray ash, in 15 to 20 minutes, push equal amounts to opposite sides of the grate. Add 3 more briquettes to each mound now and every 30 minutes while cooking. Set a drip pan on the grate between the mounds of briquettes, then set the cooking grate in place. 

If using a gas grill, turn all of the burners to high, close the lid and heat for 10 minutes. Then turn the center burner(s) off so the heat is at the edges of the grill, not under the cooking area; turn the outside burners to medium.

Lay the foil-wrapped ribs on the grill, with the convex (meaty) side up, not directly over the heat; overlap them slightly if necessary. Cover and cook until the ribs are tender when pierced through the foil, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. 

Carefully remove the foil from the ribs. Brush the tops (meaty side) lightly with Zinfandel barbecue sauce, turn the ribs over and cook until the sauce is browned, about 10 minutes. Brush the concave (bone) side with sauce, turn again and cook until browned on the second side, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and cut between the bones into individual ribs. Season with salt. Serve with the remaining barbecue sauce and the slaw (recipe below).

Napa Cabbage Slaw

  • 1 cup sliced napa cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced radicchio
  • 1 cup redbor kale leaves, stemmed and cut into chiffonade
  • 1 cup sliced fennel bulb (1 tablespoon fronds reserved)
  • 1 cup sliced Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup sliced wild leek bulb
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon (zest minced)
  • 3 tablespoons wild leek oil
  • 2 tablespoons verjus
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries or fresh pitted cherries
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon wild leek blossoms
To prepare the slaw, in a large glass mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, radicchio, kale, sliced fennel, apple and wild leek bulb.

In a glass jar, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, wild leek oil, verjus, fennel seeds, salt and black pepper. Cover with the lid and shake well.

Stir the dressing into the slaw along with the cherries and salt. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the slaw well. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, fennel fronds and wild leek blossoms. Serve the slaw alongside the ribs.

Stuhlmuller Vineyards

4951 West Soda Rock Lane
Healdsburg, CA 95448