When I was younger, my parents used to take me to Spain for vacations, and I have great memories of those times. Beautiful warm summers in cozy little villages with always delicious food. Naturally, you quickly encounter tasty tapas and authentic Spanish ham from local markets. Apart from a certain incident with an ice cream sundae that I prefer not to remember, I only recall delicious things from Spain. I only recently discovered sangria because before that, I didn’t really drink it. (I know, a shame, but I’m trying my best to make up for it.) Last year, my sister gave me a bottle from Spain that she happened to get from the same region where we used to go with our parents. And yes, that bottle was screaming to be used for something special.
Now, I’ve come up with many spare rib recipes but wanted to really go all out with this one. In my opinion, I’ve succeeded. This recipe is one of those you’ll want to try just because you can. It’s the perfect combination of everything I described above: sangria, Spanish ham, commonly used spices, and also the orange because let’s admit it… the Spanish orange deserves a spot here too.
It’s good to know that for this recipe, you’ll need about 2 bottles of sangria. One for the recipe and one to enjoy alongside it, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
2 bottles of sangria
2 Iberico ribs (or regular ribs also work)
500 grams of Serrano ham
- BBQ RUB
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (you can use less as the ham is already salty)
- For the Glaze
Juice of a Spanish orange
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons orange marmalade
- Start one day in advance by removing the membrane from the ribs. Then, pour half a bottle of sangria into a large vacuum bag and place the ribs in the bag. Seal it (if possible, vacuum seal it) and place it in the refrigerator. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, it’s okay. Buy the largest ziplock bags you can find (IKEA or any other large store that sells them). Cut the ribs in half and place them in the ziplock bag with the sangria. Put the bag in a baking dish to catch any leaks, with the closure facing upwards (trust me, this is important). Over the next few hours, turn the bag regularly to ensure the sangria marinates the ribs thoroughly.
- On the day of the BBQ, light the BBQ and ensure you can cook indirectly. Let the temperature reach 110°C (preferably not higher).
- Take the ribs out of the refrigerator, out of the bag, and pour the sangria into a saucepan. Mix all the ingredients for the rub in a bowl and blend well. Rub the ribs, which will now look somewhat purple from the sangria, thoroughly with the rub.
- Place the ribs on the BBQ using the indirect method. Close the lid and start working on the glaze.
- Add 1 more cup of sangria to the pan where the sangria is and squeeze in the orange and lemon juice. Add the orange marmalade and cayenne pepper. Stir until it forms a smooth sauce. Don’t worry if it’s thin; you’ll be glazing the ribs frequently later on. The flavor will be fine.
- After 2.5 hours on the BBQ, you’ll see the bones of the ribs nicely retracting. If that hasn’t happened yet, let the ribs sit for another half to a full hour.
- Now, take a large piece of aluminum foil and wrap the ribs in it. Pour some sangria or orange juice into the foil and seal it tightly. Place the ribs back on the BBQ for 1.5 hours.
- After 1.5 hours, remove the ribs from the BBQ and take them out of the foil. Now, coat the ribs with some of the glaze (not too much). Wrap the Serrano ham around the spare ribs. My tip: if you’ve cooked the ribs as a whole on the BBQ, cut them into halves to make neat packets. Once the ribs are nicely wrapped, place them back on the BBQ and brush the glaze over them. Let the ribs sit for another half hour, occasionally brushing the Serrano ham around the ribs.
- After half an hour, the ribs should be done.