Chow Town

An Italian barbecue for Memorial Day

Jasper Mirabile’s Espresso Rubbed BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Jasper Mirabile’s Espresso Rubbed BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Everyone considers Memorial Day weekend the kick off of summer time. As for this Chef, I like to think of it as summertime barbecue.

Every Memorial Day weekend, my father and three brothers would put on a barbecue for friends and family. We would camp out in the backyard and my father would fire up the grill.

He would make a special rub and of course his own signature barbecue sauce. I will have to tell you that some years the fire got out of hand and the ribs were a little crispy. Just saying.

Ribs were not the only item in my family’s menu. Mama Mirabile’s potato salad, baked beans and coleslaw were served but no summer BBQ was complete without my father’s signature Summer Pasta.

The Summer Pasta was a very simple dish of uncooked tomatoes, fresh garlic, olive oil, a touch of red pepper chili flakes, fresh basil and a touch of sea salt. Simple and delicious. It became so popular with our family that we started serving it at the restaurant and now has been on the menu for over 50 years starting every Memorial Day.

Even though everyone loved the pasta and sometimes ate a little too much to enjoy the rest of the meal, the star of the table was the ribs.

My special barbecue rub is really very simple, not overpowering with espresso but just enough so you can taste it. Along with my unique barbecue sauce, your ribs could just be the star of the table also.

Over the years, I have changed the recipe very little, other then now using The Roasterie for my espresso and local Duroc pork ribs. A simple rubbing of the ribs with the Espresso Rub and preparing the unique Q’ sauce, there really isn’t much else to do to create these great tasting ribs. I do like to cut the slabs into three sections for easier serving before I put them on the table.

I do have one last suggestion, please make sure you don’t fall asleep while the ribs are on the grill. You may just have to go visit one of Kansas City’s favorite BBQ joints instead. Wouldn’t that be a shame?

Jasper Mirabile’s Espresso Rubbed BBQ Baby Back Ribs

2 slabs baby back ribs

1/4 cup ground Roasterie espresso

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

Pinch cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

Espresso & Honey BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup local honey

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup molasses

1 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 tablespoon bourbon

1/4 cup brewed Roasterie espresso

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Pinch red pepper flakes

For the ribs: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut rack of ribs in three. Season with salt and pepper. Mix espresso, cayenne pepper and brown sugar and rub on ribs. Stack the ribs on a foil-covered baking sheet. Bake in the oven about 2-1/2 hours, or until tender, rotating the ribs every 30 minutes.

Remove the ribs from the oven and cover them with foil to keep them moist and tender. Place on hot grill 10-15 minutes on indirect heat. Brush with Jasper’s Espresso BBQ Sauce and serve.

For Espresso BBQ Sauce: In a bowl, whisk together the honey, molasses, bourbon, vinegar, ketchup, and espresso and red pepper. Place the olive oil and garlic in a small saute pan. Cook over low heat for about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add to the honey mixture. Place the honey mixture in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Set aside and serve with ribs.

Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s commands the helm of his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM and sells a line of dressings and sauces.